(navigation image)
Home American Libraries | Canadian Libraries | Universal Library | Community Texts | Project Gutenberg | Children's Library | Biodiversity Heritage Library | Additional Collections
Search: Advanced Search
Anonymous User (login or join us)
Upload
See other formats

Full text of "The colonial furniture of New England : A study of the domestic furniture in use in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries"

II 





jf^Jhj 






P*V. «3*CVF ^. ftlfcT 




Fig. 66 

CANE CHAIR 

Late seventeenth or early eighteenth century 






THE 

COLONIAL FURNITURE 

OF NEW ENGLAND 

% £tufcp 

OF THE DOMESTIC FURNITURE IN USE IN THE 

SEVENTEENTH AND EIGHTEENTH 

CENTURIES 



ME.MIil k 

6U' -■• vui 



IRVING WHITALL LYON, M D. 



OF THE CONNECTICUT HISTORICAL SOCIETY 



2 4 9 6 

1893 
LIBRARY 



FULLY ILLUSTRATED 




BOSTON AND NEW YORK 

HOUGHTON, MIFFLIN AND COMPANY 

SE&e EtoetBtfce Prcce, CatnfartDp 



Copyright, 1891, 
By IRVING WHITALL LYON. 

All rights reserved* 



SECOND EDITION. 



Tke Riverside Press, Cambridge , Mass., U. S.A. 
Electrotyped and Printed by H. O. Houghton & Company. 



OCT 24 1§5? 



PREFACE 

Early in the year 1877 the writer began to collect 
pieces of old furniture in and about Hartford, Conn., 
a region rich in the carved oaken woodwork of the 
seventeenth century. There were at that time a 
few others quietly engaged in the same pursuit. 
The number of collectors gradually increased, and 
the amount of old furniture gathered by them soon 
became quite considerable. What is here described 
as taking place in Hartford was also going on in 
many other places in New England. 

With these rich possessions naturally came the 
desire to know something more about them. When, 
however, we began to inquire into the origin and 
history of the various objects and styles represented, 
it was found either very difficult or impossible to 
obtain ready and satisfactory answers to many of the 
questions which arose. 

About the year 1880 the writer commenced a 
somewhat systematic study of this old furniture. 
This included among other things an examination 



IV PREFACE 

of specimens ; an inquiry into what others knew or 
had written ; and an examination of old records, such 
as inventories of household furniture, old newspapers, 
account books, and diaries. The furniture of Eng- 
land and Holland for the corresponding period was 
also studied to some extent. 

Among the many interesting results of these re- 
searches the following may here be mentioned : — 

The proof that much, perhaps the most, of the 
carved oaken furniture found in New England was 
made here. 

Evidence which renders it very probable that the 
phrases livery-cupboard and cotirt-cupboard were but 
different names for the same piece of furniture. 
The identity of the livery and court-cupboard has 
before been suggested, but so far as we know no 
evidence of it has hitherto been adduced. In con- 
nection with cupboards we may also call attention to 
the cupboard cushions found in our inventories, 
objects which we have not seen mentioned else- 
where. 

Proof of the early use of black walnut and ma- 
hogany furniture in this country. The former as 
early as 166S, the latter as early as 1708. It will 
probably be found that mahogany was used for cabi- 



PRE FA CE v 

net work in the West Indies or in South America 
considerably before 170S. 

A history of Windsor chairs in this country show- 
ing that they were in use in Philadelphia as early 
as 1736, much earlier than had been supposed. 

A somewhat detailed history of the introduction 
and early use of china and delft ware, table forks, 
coffee, chocolate, and tea. 

The genuineness of the pieces illustrated in this 
work is here vouched for. With the most of them 
the writer and his friends have been familiar for 
several years. Many of them have been repaired to 
some extent, and in a few instances parts that were 
missing have been restored. Most of this work for 
Hartford and its vicinity has been done by Mr. 
Edwin Simons, a cabinet-maker, who, for fifty years 
at the head of his craft in this city, has had the rare 
intelligence to leave pieces that have fallen into his 
hands for repair just as they were originally made. 

In the studies which led to the preparation of 
these pages the author has received much assistance 
from many kind friends. His acknowledgments on 
this score are especially due to Mr. Edwin Simons 
and to Mr. Walter Hosmer, whose constant aid and 
friendship have been invaluable on account of their 



VI PREFACE 

superior knowledge of the old furniture of New 
England. 

He wishes also to express here his great obliga- 
tions to Mr. George T. Robinson, of London, and to 
Charles J. Hoadly, LL. D., of this city; to the 
former for much valuable information on many diffi- 
cult questions relating to the furniture of England 
and other European countries, and to the latter for 
many historical facts and references, and for much 
generous aid in many other ways. 

I. W. L. 

Hartford, Conn., September 14, 1891. 



CONTENTS 



CHAPTER PAGE 

I. CHESTS .......... i 

II. CUPBOARDS ......... 30 

III. CHESTS OF DRAWERS ...... 73 

IV. DESKS . 109 

V. CHAIRS .......... 137 

VI. TABLES . .189 

VII. CLOCKS 233 

APPENDIX 265 

INDEX 271 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 



FIGURES PAGE 

66. Cane chair, late seventeenth or early eighteenth cen- 
tury Frontispiece 

i, 2. Carved oaken chests, first half seventeenth century 2, 6 

3. Carved oaken chest, about 1670 8 

4. Oaken chest with one drawer, 1660-70 12 

5. Carved oaken chest with one drawer, dated 1699 . . 14 

6. Carved oaken chest with one drawer, 1680-1700 ... 18 

7. 8, 9. Carved oaken chests with two drawers, 1680-1700 

20, 24, 26 

10. Carved oaken chest with three drawers, 1680-1700 . . 28 

11. Carved oaken box, about 1680 32 

12. Carved oaken box, dated 1649 34 

13. Cupboard in Stationer's Hall, London, 1670-80 ... 38 

14. Court-cupboard in hall of Christ Church College, Ox- 

ford, 1590-1625 40 

15. 16. Court-cupboards second half seventeenth century 44, 46 

17. Press Cupboard, about 1650 50 

18. Press Cupboard, 1650-75 52 

19. Press Cupboard, 1680-1700 56 

20. Cupboard with drawers, 1680-1700 58 

21. A " Beaufatt," 1735 62 

22. A "Beaufatt," about 1750 64 

23. Sideboard, style of Heppelwhite, made in 1804 ... 68 

24. Carved oaken chest of drawers, second half seventeenth 

century ................ 70 



X LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 

25. Oaken chest of drawers, second half seventeenth cen- 

tury 74 

26. A chest of drawers, 1680-1700 76 

27. 28. Six-legged chests of drawers So, 82 

29. Dressing-table belonging to a six-legged chest of draw- 
ers 86 

30-35. Old brasses, close of seventeenth and beginning 

of eighteenth century go, 92 

36. A bandy-legged chest of drawers 96 

37. Dressing-table belonging to a bandy-legged chest of 

drawers 86 

38. Japanned chest of drawers about 1735 98 

39. Chamber table and dressing-box belonging to 38 . . 102 

40. A double chest of drawers 104 

41. Steps for top of chest of drawers 108 

42. Chest of drawers showing steps with china . . . .108 

43. Carved desk, dated 1654 no 

44. Carved oaken desk, about 1650 no 

45. Carved oaken box, dated 1668 114 

46. Carved box with drawer 114 

47. Scrutoir, close of seventeenth century (after Havard) . 116 

48. Scrutoir, early eighteenth century 120 

49. Scrutoir, 1725-50 122 

50. Scrutoir, made in the year 1769 126 

51. Scrutoir with bookcase 128 

52. Secretary and bookcase (after Heppelwhite) .... 132 

53. The President's chair, Harvard University .... 134 

54. Turned chair, early sixteenth century 138 

55. Chair from a painting by Jan Steen 140 

56. Turned chair, first half seventeenth century .... 142 

57. Turned chair, early seventeenth century 146 

58. Turned chair, about 1650 148 

59. Carved oaken " Wainscot " chair, first half seventeenth 

century 150 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS XI 

60. Rubens's chair, dated 1633 154 

61. Leather chair at Trinity College, Hartford, seventeenth 

century 156 

62. Leather chair, seventeenth century 156 

63. 64. Turkey work chairs, second half seventeenth cen- 

tury 160 

65, 67, 68. Cane chairs, late seventeenth or early eighteenth 

century 162, 164, 168 

69, 70. High-backed leather chairs, late seventeenth or early 

eighteenth century 170, 172 

71. Dutch bandy-legged chair, early eighteenth century . . 174 

72. Bandy-legged chair with ball and claw feet, about 1750 178 

73. Chinese chair with bandy legs, and ball and claw feet, 

a. d. 254 180 

74. A five-backed chair, beginning eighteenth century . . 182 

75. Banister backed chair, first half eighteenth century . . 184 

76. An easy chair, eighteenth century 188 

77. Roundabout chair, 1750-60 190 

78. 79, 80. Chippendale chairs, second half eighteenth cen- 

tury 192, 196, 198 

81. Chippendale double chair, second half eighteenth cen- 

tury 200 

82. A high-backed Windsor chair 202 

83. A Windsor chair 202 

84. A fan backed Windsor chair 206 

85. A fan backed Windsor chair with arms 206 

86. A Windsor chair with arms 208 

87. A Windsor chair with supports to back 208 

88. 89. Heppelwhite chairs, about 1796 210 

90. Chair with a Sheraton back 212 

91. A Sheraton chair 212 

92. A settle made in 1769 216 

93. Drawing-table, first half seventeenth century . . . .218 



Xll LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 

94. A chair table as a table 220 

95. The chair table in Fig. 94 shown as a chair .... 222 

96. Oaken table, latter part seventeenth century .... 226 

97. Table, end of seventeenth or beginning eighteenth cen- 

tury 228 

98. Oval table with leaves, seventeenth and eighteenth cen- 

turies 230 

99. Folding-table with round top, eighteenth century . . 230 
100, 101. Tables with leaves, eighteenth century . . . .232 

102. A table, eighteenth century 236 

103. Table with three leaves, about 1750 236 

104. A Dutch tea table 238 

105. The table shown in Fig. 104 with top turned up . . . 240 

106. A Heppelwhite card table 242 

107. A brass birdcage clock, seventeenth century .... 246 

108. A Dutch hanging clock, 1640-1700 248 

109. A Dutch clock, seventeenth century 252 

no. A spring clock by Charles Gretton, London, second half 

seventeenth century 254 

in. Clock made by Benjamin Bagnall of Boston, first half 

eighteenth century 256 

112. Clock made by Enos Doolittle of Hartford, second half 

eighteenth century . 260 

113. A French clock, time of Louis XVI. ....... 262 



COLONIAL FURNITURE OF NEW 
ENGLAND 



CHAPTER I. 

CHESTS. 

In use from classical times, we find the chest during 
the Middle Ages the principal piece of household fur- 
niture, serving not only as a receptacle for clothing, 
money, plate, and other valuables, but also at times 
for a seat, or a table, and occasionally as a place upon 
which to make up a bed. It was also used in churches 
to inclose the sacred vessels, vestments, records, etc. 

Down to about the twelfth century the woodwork of 
chests in England and France appears to have been 
either plain or covered with leather or painted cloths. 
After this time they began to be carved more or less 
richly, and in the thirteenth century to be paneled. 
Specimens of the carved and paneled chests which 
were in use in Europe from the latter part of the thir- 
teenth down to the seventeenth century have been 
illustrated in many standard works, and may be seen 
in numerous public and private collections in Europe. 



2 CHESTS 

Many of these examples are of exceeding beauty and 
richness, being elaborately carved in greater or less 
relief with architectural details, figures, masks, shells, 
leaves, flowers, etc. 

With the decline of figure cutting, inferior artists 
took to the flat carving, which was very generally prac- 
ticed in the seventeenth century in Northwestern Eu- 
rope, and which found its way to this country upon the 
chests brought hither by our European ancestors. 

Many of the chests in use in New England during 
the first century of its settlement are to-day carefully 
preserved in public museums, by private collectors, 
and by families who cherish them as ancestral relics. 
From these examples, and from the facts and de- 
scriptions to be gleaned from the inventories of 
estates, we may obtain a tolerably accurate history of 
this article of furniture during the colonial period. 

In looking through the early records preserved in 
our probate courts we find chests mentioned in al- 
most every inventory from the first. The most fre- 
quent entry is the simple word chest without any 
qualifying adjective; and the price, if given, is the 
only clue to its character. In many instances, how- 
ever, the kind of chest is mentioned. The following 
list embraces most of the varieties met with : — 

Joined chests. 

Wainscot chests. 

Board chests. 




Fig. 1 

CARVED OAKEN CHEST 

First half seventeenth century 



CHESTS 3 

Spruce chests. 

Oak chests. 

Ship chests. 

Carved chests. 

Chests with one or two drawers. 

Cypress chests. 

Furniture made by a joiner and wainscot furni- 
ture are varieties which have been mentioned in the 
English inventories from very early times. Thus, in 
the inventory of John Cadeby, of Beverley, made 
before 145 r, and published by the Surtees Society, 
we find a record of " / par tristellorum de wayn- 
scote ; " and, in the inventory of Thomas Morton, 
Canon Residentiary of York, made in 1449, and pub- 
lished by the same society, the items, " De 1 cista 
nova, junyour worke, ii. s.," and, " De 1 cathedra lig- 
nea de junyour worke, xii. d." Again, in the will of 
Agas Herte, of Bury St. Edmunds, made in 1522, 
and published by the Camden Society, we find " A 
tabyll of waynskott w ( to joynyd trestelle, ii. joynyd 
stolys of the best," and " a gret joynyd cheyre." 

Woodwork joined or framed together in any man- 
ner, but especially with mortise and tenon, was said 
to be joined, and the craftsman who did such work 
was called a joiner. As his chests and chairs and 
stools were always good, and sometimes handsome, 
they contrasted strongly with the rude board chests 
and plank seats in common use ; so that by a natural 



4 CHESTS 

process, joined furniture came to mean also well- 
made furniture. Most joined chests were, therefore, 
in all probability framed structures with panels. 

The habit of applying the term wainscot to any 
particular article of furniture doubtless arose from 
some resemblance in its construction to the wain- 
scoting which lined the walls of mediaeval palaces 
and mansions. As this work was usually paneled, 
it would seem altogether likely that the chests de- 
scribed as wainscot in the old inventories were 
framed and paneled, the same as the joined chests. 

To show that these two words when applied to 
chests had the same meaning, and were employed to 
designate framed chests with panels, in contradistinc- 
tion to those made of plain boards, a few extracts 
are here introduced, the items in the original record 
following each other on the same line, or on the line 
below, in every instance, as here written. 

"A winscot chest, 12s., a borded chest, 5 s." — In- 
ventory of Sarah Beal, Cambridge, Mass., 1678. 

" To 2 winscot chests, £1 10 s. One box, 3 s. One 
boarded chest, 5 s." — Inventory of John Savage, 
Middletown, Conn., 1684-85. 

" By a winscut chest, 20 s. 1 board chest, 7 s." 
— Inventory of Stephen Hosmer, Hartford, Conn., 
1693-94. 

"One joined chest and one plain chest, 12s." — 
Inventory of Andrew Dewing, Dedham, Mass., 1677. 



CHESTS 5 

" A joyned chest, 8 s., a playne chest, 4 s." — In- 
ventory of Henry Wight, Dedham, 1681. 

"One pannell chest, one playne chest." — Inven- 
tory of John Crafts, Roxbury, Mass., 1685. 

Carved chests are seldom mentioned in the New 
England records of the seventeenth century. We 
have met with but six. The earliest of these oc- 
curs in the inventory of William Bradford made in 
Plymouth, Mass., in 1657. The item is, "A carved 
chist, £1" The others are found in inventories 
dated 1662, 1666, 1668, 1676, and 1690 respectively, 
and are valued in the order given at 6 s. 8 d., £1 
10 s., 15 s., 9 s., and 12 s. Besides these, we have 
notes of two " wrought " chests, valued at twenty and 
twenty-five shillings ; one " ingraved chest ; " one 
" sett worke chest," valued at eight shillings ; and a 
"great inlayed worke chest," valued at ^1 6s. No 
carved chests appear in the Hartford inventories 
during the seventeenth century, and but one in the 
inventories of Suffolk County, Mass., including Bos- 
ton, before the year 1704. Carved boxes are found 
in the records in about the same numbers as carved 
chests, the first mention being in an inventory made 
in 1653. 

It would, however, be an error to conclude from 
their infrequent mention in the inventories that 
carved chests were rare in New England in the seven- 
teenth century. It is not at all improbable that they 



6 CHESTS 

were somewhat scarce among the earlier colonists, 
but that this could not have been the case after 1650 
is proved by the numerous specimens which we see 
to-day. Very many of the wainscot and joined 
chests that appear in the inventories were undoubt- 
edly carved. Indeed, carved furniture was very 
common in the seventeenth century, and this may 
have been one of the reasons why the word carved 
was so seldom used in the records as a descriptive 
term. 

The silence of our New England records on this 
point is not exceptional. Carved chests are men- 
tioned in but three of the numerous inventories of 
the sixteenth century published by the Surtees, 
Camden, and Chetham Societies. This is the more 
noticeable, as the carving of the sixteenth century 
was vastly superior to that of the seventeenth, and 
because, among the many hundred different chests 
here recorded, frequent mention is made of other 
varieties, such as Flanders, cypress, iron-bound, and 
wainscot chests. 

The oldest carved and paneled chests in New 
England are believed to have been made without 
drawers underneath, and without the black applied 
ornaments so often found on later work. Two such 
examples are here given. The first (Fig. 1) was 
bought a few years since in Windsor, Conn., from 
a family in which it had descended from colonial 




Fig. 2 

CARVED OAKEN CHEST 
First half seventeenth century 



CHESTS 7 

times. The acanthus -like foliage and the arches 
carved on its front suggest that this chest was made 
in the reign -of James I. of England, or early in that 
of his successor. The wood is oak except the lid, 
which is made of yellow pine in one piece. But as 
pine lids were not put on oaken chests in England 
at this early period, either the original lid has been 
lost, or the entire chest was made in New England. 
The lids of such oaken chests in England in the 
seventeenth century were not only made of oak, but 
were also framed and paneled. This chest belongs 
to the writer, who a few years since saw another of 
the same pattern in Cheshire, Conn. 

The other (Fig. 2) belongs to the collection of Mr. 
Henry F. Waters, of Salem, Mass. It was bought 
from a family in Rowley, Mass. It is all original, 
except the lid, which is new. The carving is excel- 
lent. The general effect of this beautiful specimen 
is improved by the brackets, a feature occasionally 
found on old chests. It is believed that this chest 
was made as early as 1650, and perhaps earlier. 

The mere absence of drawers in any particular 
specimen must not, however, be accepted as proof of 
its very early date. In Fig. 3 is seen a chest belong- 
ing to the writer, which could hardly have been 
made before the year 1670. This opinion is based 
upon the presence of soft wood in the construction 
of the lid, back, and bottom, the design of the carv- v 



8 CHESTS 

ing, and the use of color on the sunken ground of 
the panels ; features to which reference will again be 
made. 

Chests with one or two drawers underneath are 
far more numerous in New England than those 
without drawers. Many of these have also the ap- 
plied ornaments already alluded to. The fashion of 
making chests with drawers underneath seems to 
have sprung up in England at some time in the first 
half of the seventeenth century. No chests with 
drawers appear in the English inventories of the six- 
teenth century published by the three antiquarian 
societies above named. 

The first mention of a chest with one drawer that 
we have been able to find occurs in the inventory 
of Rev. Nathaniel Rogers, of Ipswich, Mass., made 
in August, 1655. The item is, "One chest with a 
drawer, 16 s." The next is, "A cheast with a drawer 
under, 18 s.," in the inventory of Robert Risden, of 
Fairfield, Conn., made in January, 1666-67. The 
third is, " One new Chest with one drawer, 13 s.," in 
the inventory of John Winsor, of Boston, made in 
February, 1666-67. After this time they are not 
infrequently met with in the New England inven- 
tories. An early example of a chest with one drawer 
is shown in Fig. 4. It is the property of the Con- 
necticut Historical Society of Hartford. There is 
no certain guide to its age ; but if we suppose it to 




Fig. 3. 

CARVED OAKEN CHEST 

About mo 



CHESTS 9 

have been made in the decade 1660-70, no serious 
error will be committed. 

In Fig. 5 we show a dated specimen from the col- 
lection of Mr. William E. Hulbert, of Middletown, 
Conn. The date, 1699, is cut on the drawer, and 
is undoubtedly genuine. The carving on this chest % 
is worthy of notice from having the edges of the 
raised work, especially the foliage stems, rounded 
off more than is usual. The central stiles are en- 
riched with an inlaid strip of yellow and dark colored 
woods, running up and down their whole length be- 
tween the turned ornaments. Still another peculi- 
arity is the size and shape of the end stiles, and the 
manner in which their lower parts, or feet, are fin- 
ished. The end stiles of chests are usually heavy, 
rectangular-shaped posts, with their width consider- 
ably in excess of their thickness, or anteroposterior 
measure. In this specimen the end stiles were made 
very light, their width and thickness being the same ; 
and their lower parts, instead of being left plain, were 
turned upon the lathe to correspond with the orna- 
ment above. 

Two other chests with posts, inlay, and carving the 
same as in this specimen are known. The first is 
the property of O. O. Roberts, M. D., of Northamp- 
ton, Mass. It is a very large chest, with two drawers, 
one above the other. 

The second example, which belongs to the writer, 



10 CHESTS 

was originally an exact counterpart of the Roberts 
chest; but the drawers have been cut away, leaving 
only the chest, with its top but 2i| inches from the 
floor. Both of these chests are dated 1700, the fig- 
ures in each being cut on the top rail at the key- 
hole. 

The third example of a chest with a single drawer 
(Fig. 6), selected for illustration, is a beautiful speci- 
men with two or three points of interest. The legs, 
from the fact of their being longer than usual, sug- 
gest the possibility of a missing drawer. This chest, 
nevertheless, was designed and made just as we here 
see it. Some chests were made to stand, like this, 
high up from the floor. The Norman design, resem- 
bling the tooth ornament carved upon the stiles, is 
worthy of mention, as being not only more pleasing 
to the eye, but also in better accord with sound rules 
of construction than though glued to the surface. 
These same ornaments in lozenge form are again 
used with good effect to fill the spaces of the dia- 
per carving on the panels. This chest is not dated, 
but one very similar to it, in the collection of Mr. 
Walter Hosmer, of Hartford, Conn., is dated 1699. 
It is made of oak, excepting the bottom of the 
drawer, which is of chestnut. It was bought in 1884, 
in Madison, Conn., where it had probably been for 
many generations. It now belongs to Mrs. Edmund 
G. Howe, of Hartford, Conn. 



CHESTS 1 1 

It is difficult to determine when chests with two 
drawers — one above the other — first came in use. 
The general impression among those who have 
studied the matter carefully is that they appeared 
considerably later than those with a single drawer. 

Chests with drawers are mentioned quite early in 
the probate records, as the following instances will 
show : — 

" i chest and i little cupboard, both with drawers, 
£$ ios." — Inventory of John Cotton, Boston, Janu- 
ary, 1652-53. 

" One chest w th drawers, ,£1 12 s." — Inventory of 
Thomas Warner, Boston, 1660. 

" A great old chest with drawers, 8 s." — Inventory 
of Thomas Robinson, Boston, 1666. 

"A great carved chest with drawers, £1 10." — 
Inventory of Daniel Weld, Roxbury, 1666. 

If we accept these items literally, we shall be 
obliged to believe that chests with more than one 
drawer were made from about the middle of the 
seventeenth century ; but, as we shall see in another 
chapter, there are reasons for supposing that the 
phrase chest with drawers was occasionally applied 
to the piece of furniture ordinarily known under the 
name of chest of drawers. 

The wording, however, of another item in the in- 
ventory of Daniel Weld seems to sustain the notion 
that the "great carved chest with drawers" referred 



12 CHESTS 

to might have been a chest above with drawers be- 
low. This item is, "A case of drawers, £i." The 
inference from this is, of course, that if the great 
carved chest with drawers had been a chest of 
drawers, it would have been written either a case 
of drawers or a chest of drawers, as both these ex- 
pressions stood for the same thing. 

The first mention that we have seen of a chest 
with two drawers occurs in the inventory of William 
Wardell, of Boston, made in 1670. The record is, 
"A chest with two drawers, £1 10 s." It is by no 
means certain that this piece even was anything 
more than a chest of drawers, made up with a frame 
and two drawers, as was sometimes the case. But 
here again the context permits us at least to doubt 
that this piece was a chest of drawers proper. We 
quote from the inventory the following : " In the 
Hall. 1 greate cheast, 15 s. 1 smaller chest with one 
drawer, £1 5s." "In the chamber over the Hall. 
A chest with two drawes, £1 10 s." Now we know 
perfectly well what was meant by a chest with one 
drawer, and, if we may reason from the sameness 
of the language used at the same time and in the 
same place, it would seem that the only difference 
between this chest and the one in the chamber over 
the hall was that the former had but one instead of 
two drawers. 

Another possible reference to a chest with two 




Fig. 4 
OAKEN CHEST WITH ONE DRAWER 



CHESTS 13 

drawers below is the item, " One Chest and drawers 
£1" recorded in 1679-80 in the inventory of Mrs. 
Ann Cole, of Hartford. 

We pass now from the stage of possibility and un- 
certainty to one in which there can no longer be 
any doubt, as the following quotations show : — 

" One wainscot chest and drawers in it, 1 2 s." — 
Inventory of Mrs. Anna Haugh, Boston, 1690. 

" One chest of drawers, and one wainscot chest 
and drawers." — Inventory of Peter Welcome, Bos- 
ton, 1695. 

"A chest w th drawes underneath 15s." — Inven- 
tory of Nathaniel Thayer, Boston, 1 700-1. 

To the objection that the chests in some of these 
instances may have had two short drawers below, on 
the same level, instead of two long ones, one above 
the other, as in the next three illustrations, it may be 
answered that, though such chests occur in Europe, 
we do not know of any one who has seen a single 
example in this country. 

While, therefore, we cannot at present feel cer- 
tain of an earlier date for these chests than the last 
decade of the seventeenth century, we may point out 
that, from the early date established for chests with 
a single drawer, from the close resemblance in con- 
structive details and carving between these chests 
and those with a single drawer, from the early and 
the frequent mention in the inventories of chests with 



14 CHESTS 

drawers, and from the probability that many of the 
chests of drawers made during the last decades of 
the century were of this hybrid character, that is, a 
chest above with drawers below, — that for these rea- 
sons it is not at all improbable that chests with two 
drawers, such as we here illustrate, may have been 
in use in New England considerably before the year 
1690. 

Three good examples of these chests are here 
shown. The first (Fig. 7) was bought in Mansfield, 
Conn., in 1883, with the history of having been 
brought to this country about the year 1720. It 
differs in design and in construction from the chests 
commonly found in New England. It is made en- 
tirely of oak. The ends are not framed with stiles 
and rails in the usual way, but consist instead of 
plain planks rather more than one inch and a half in 
thickness. The front edges of these planks above 
are carved to correspond with the upper rails, which, 
with them, inclose the single panel at the front of 
the chest. The carving is better and in more relief 
than that usually seen in this country. The lid is an 
oaken plank one inch and five eighths in thickness, 
with carved and moulded edges. This specimen 
is larger than the average chest with two drawers. 
Its hight is a little more than forty-two inches. It 
belongs to the author. 

The chest represented in Fig. 8 is quite unique 



CHESTS 1 5 

in the arrangement of its ornamental details, though 
all the enrichments are frequently found on the old 
chests and cupboards of New England. The in- 
verted and foliated scrolls especially are often seen 
on drawer fronts and in other situations ; but their 
occurrence on panels around a center, as in this in- 
stance, is unusual. This chest was bought in 1884, 
in Madison, Conn., where, according to the history 
obtained, it had been during the last two centuries. 
It now belongs to the writer. Its hight is a little 
over forty inches. 

Chests made after the style of the one represented 
in Fig. 9 are often met with in Connecticut, espe- 
cially in Hartford County, where about forty ex- 
amples have been seen. This fact is valuable as 
evidence that these chests were made in Hartford 
County. They are m,ade of oak, except the lids 
and the backs and bottoms of the chest and of the 
drawers, which are of yellow pine. The carving 
varies but little in the different specimens. All have 
the turned ornaments, called drops, on the stiles, 
and the egg-shaped pieces attached to the drawer 
fronts. The mouldings around the panels and on 
the drawers are red, with cross-stripes of black. The 
other mouldings, whether raised or sunken, are col- 
ored black like the applied ornaments ; so, also, are 
the angles of the drawers, and of the central panel of 
the chest. The hight of these chests is about 40^ 



1 6 CHESTS 

inches. The specimen here shown belongs to the 
writer, who purchased it in 1880 in Farmington, 
Conn. Chests of this pattern are occasionally seen 
with but one drawer, and, more rarely still, without 
any drawer at all. 

Oaken chests of the seventeenth century period 
with three drawers below are very rare. The only 
specimen to which we can refer is the one in Memo- 
rial Hall at Deerfield, Mass., shown in Fig. 10. The 
lid and back and the backs and bottoms of the 
drawers are of pine ; all other parts are of oak. The 
carving varies from that of all the preceding varie- 
ties. The hight of this chest is forty-six inches. 
The carving is colored red ; the sunken ground is 
left the natural color of the wood. The four panels 
at each end are black. 

Several other chests with the same style of carv- 
ing, some with one, others with two drawers, are 
known. One of these is preserved in the same hall 
with this chest at Deerfield. Another, in the Hos- 
mer collection above referred to, has the carving 
on its stiles and rails colored black, while that on 
the panels and front of the drawer is colored red. 
The sunken ground of all these parts is left un- 
colored. The ends, which are not carved, have 
their stiles and rails colored red and their panels 
black. 

It is interesting to observe not only the different 



CHESTS 17 

types or patterns of chests, but also the close resem- 
blances which obtain between the individual speci- 
mens of any particular type. 

The oak in the chests of New England is almost 
always rived and quartered to show the grain. The 
only exception to this rule that we have seen is the 
chest Fig. 7. In this instance the oak is plain, and 
was evidently got out from the log with the saw. 

Some oaken chests were made plain with simple 
mouldings around the panels, but without any carv- 
ing or applied ornaments. In others the decoration 
consisted either of ornamental mouldings alone, or 
of these with the applied ornaments, as in the chest 
Fig. 4. It is probable that many of these simpler 
chests were in use, but that they have not been 
preserved as carefully as the more valuable carved 
chests. The simplest and least expensive of all were 
the board, and pine, and ship chests mentioned in 
the inventories. The oldest and most interesting 
example of these is the Elder Brewster chest, which 
came with him in the Mayflower, and which is now 
in the hall of the Connecticut Historical Society of 
Hartford. It is made entirely of pine. 

The cypress and cedar chests occasionally men- 
tioned in the inventories were used especially to pro- 
tect woolens and furs from moths. The former were 
apprized at from one to five pounds apiece. " 1 
lardge Cyprus chest " is valued at ^5 in the inven- 



1 8 CHESTS 

tory of Richard Bellingham, Governor of Massachu- 
setts, made in 1672. 

Northwestern Europe has already been mentioned 
as the region where the flat carving seen on our 
early colonial furniture was largely practiced in the 
seventeenth century. Two styles of this decoration 
flourished in these countries. One of these is shown 
on the box illustrated in Fig. 1 1. This style is very 
rarely seen in New England. It has been very care- 
fully studied by Herr C. Grunow, First Director of 
the Royal Museum for Industrial Arts in Berlin, and 
the results published by E. A. Seemann, Leipzig, 
1884, in a work entitled " Kerbschnittvorlagen." 

This author traces this peculiar carving on stone 
back to the eighth century. It is found in various 
localities in Europe, Asia, and the South Sea Islands. 
It has been practiced for eight centuries in the coun- 
tries of Northwestern Europe bordering upon the 
sea from Normandy to Norway. 

He says : The English word to carve, which is 
used alike for cutting, figure carving, and wood sculp- 
ture, indicates that the notch work was the begin- 
ning of all the carving technics of the North German 
peoples. 

The wood carvings of this sort reach back to the 
thirteenth century. Examples are to be seen in all 
collections of art in North Germany, as well as in 
Holland, Denmark, Norway, and Sweden. They 




Fig. 6 

CARVED OAKEN CHEST WITH ONE DRAWER 

1680-1700 



CHESTS 19 

reach the highest degree of perfection in the first 
half of the eighteenth century. 

The peculiarities of this style of carving are its 
geometric patterns, and the forms of the cuttings, 
which will be found to consist of two, three, and four- 
sided depressions. 

The box here illustrated is the only example of 
this style that we have seen in New England. It 
was bought by the writer in Middletown, Conn., in 
1 88 1. Its history made it belong to a family which 
had lived in New England in the early colonial pe- 
riod. In the opinion of Herr Director Grunow, it 
was made about the year 1680. 

The other and simpler style of carving is that 
which Herr Director Grunow designates the linear 
or groove carving. It, like painting, is one of the 
oldest and most primitive methods of flat decora- 
tion, and will arise wherever linear ornaments are to 
be carved in wood. It was, however, chiefly in the 
seventeenth century that this linear carving was em- 
ployed in Northwestern Europe to decorate peasant 
furniture. It extended thence to England, and was 
brought to this country by our early ancestors. It is 
the kind of carving which we see on our old oaken 
chests and cupboards. 

In the opinion of some antiquaries this linear style 
of carving, which appeared on the peasant furni- 
ture of the seventeenth century, was an offshoot or 



20 CHESTS 

development from the other style which we have 
described, and which is sometimes called Friesland 
carving, from having been practiced by the peasants 
of Friesland especially, during the past three or four 
hundred years. This is the view entertained by 
Monsieur J. J. Van Ysendyck, the learned architect 
of Brussels, and by others. 

Herr Director Grunow, however, says that this 
linear carving of the seventeenth century could have 
arisen either independently of the real notch carving 
of Friesland, or in connection with it. 

The applied ornaments found on our chests are 
not made of oak, but of finer-grained woods, such as 
birch, beech, and maple. They were colored black, 
in imitation of ebony. There are several kinds of 
these ornaments ; but the drops, the egg - shaped 
pieces, the Norman nail heads, and the triglyphs 
are the most common. 

The drop was invented and first used by Peter 
Koek, the celebrated Flemish painter and architect, 
who flourished toward the middle of the sixteenth 
century. His drops were plain, carrot-shaped pieces, 
gradually tapering to a point, but without mouldings 
below the neck. The ornamental drops with mould- 
ings and bulbous points, as seen on our chests, are 
of later date. The drop continued in use in the 
architecture and on the furniture of Belgium, Hol- 
land, and England fully a century after its introduc- 



- y ^ v- v- i v " ; 



-«.^*te 



l : t^^' 






CARVED OAKEN CHEST W,TH TWO DRAWERS 



CHESTS 2 1 

tion by Koek. It is seen in the designs of Hans 
and Paul Vredeman de Vries, father and son ; and 
Richardson's " Studies from Old English Mansions " 
show that it found its way into many of the best 
houses of England during the reigns of Elizabeth 
and James I. It lingered upon furniture made in 
England much later than the latter period, and it is 
found in New England on chests dated as late as 
the year 1 700. 

The egg ornaments and triglyphs are classical in 
origin, and appeared on Flemish and Dutch furniture 
with the Renaissance. The nail head was a diamond- 
shaped ornament much used in Norman architecture. 

The colors employed to decorate these old chests 
were principally black and red. The former appears 
to have been in use for this purpose somewhat earlier 
than the red, though in most instances both colors 
are found on the same piece. This, perhaps, is be- 
cause most of the earlier chests have been destroyed. 
The black is oftenest found on the mouldings of the 
stiles and rails, and on the applied ornaments. It 
is occasionally seen in other situations, as on the 
sunken ground of the panels, and on the carving of 
the stiles and rails. The red was usually restricted 
to the mouldings around the panels, but is some- 
times found applied all over the flat surface of the 
carving, or, more rarely, to the sunken ground of the 
carved parts. 



22 CHESTS 

Chests with genuine dates, prior to the last years 
of the seventeenth century, appear to be very rare in 
New England. The earliest known to us is dated 
1698. We have seen a few others, dated either 1699 
or 1700. One of these (Fig. 5) is illustrated in this 
chapter, and three others are referred to in the text. 

Carved oaken boxes with dates earlier than the 
above are sometimes seen. One of these is shown 
in Fig. 12. It is dated 1649. It is the property of 
the Connecticut Historical Society of Hartford, hav- 
ing been presented by Abel Catlin, late of Litchfield, 
Conn. It was brought from England to this coun- 
try by one of his ancestors. The dark color of the 
wood is proof of its European origin. 

Chests were used as receptacles for all manner of 
things, but especially for the linens and woolens of 
household use. They held in these early days what 
was afterwards kept rather in chests of drawers, and 
in the numerous little closets which were built in the 
paneled walls of the " Queen Anne " houses. They 
were no doubt also used secondarily to some extent 
as seats. 

During the seventeenth century the uses of the 
chest were shared more or less by another article 
of furniture, namely, the chest of drawers. These 
latter, from being at first comparatively infrequent, 
gradually increased in numbers and in favor as the 
century advanced, so that during its last two decades 



CHESTS 23 

they had become among people of wealth and fashion 
objects of greater desire and importance than the 
chests, which they were destined to supersede. 

The time-honored chest did not, however, become 
at once and everywhere unpopular and disused. 
They continued to be made, as is shown by dated 
specimens, as late as 1700 certainly, and probably 
considerably later. They were extensively used in 
the first half of the eighteenth century, during which 
period carved chests and chests with drawers are 
oftener mentioned in the Connecticut inventories 
than before. 

It would be difficult to determine when the chest 
ceased to be a desirable piece of furniture among 
plain and unpretentious people. They are found in 
the Hartford inventories as late as 1 794, after which 
the habit of recording separate items of furniture 
was discontinued. They were little used by wealthy 
and fashionable people in Boston and elsewhere in 
New England after 1700, and from this time they 
may be said to have lost their former preeminence 
as household receptacles. They slowly declined in 
popular favor, but existing specimens doubtless con- 
tinued in some kind of use nearly as long as they 
remained in good repair. 

The belief is common among the people that 
these old carved and paneled chests were all made 
in Europe and brought to this country by the early 



24 CHESTS 

settlers as part of their furniture. The grounds for 
this belief are usually traditional and vague, but oc- 
casionally one finds associated with a particular speci- 
men a definite history of Transatlantic origin, with 
names and dates. 

It is true that almost every person who settled 
in New England during the seventeenth century 
brought with him a chest of some sort, and it is 
probable that many persons, particularly the heads 
of families, had several among their effects. From 
being in fashion at home, they were ready to be used 
as packing-boxes for the voyage, and in their West- 
ern homes, the better pieces especially, were care- 
fully kept, on account of their value as furniture, as 
well as for their past associations. 

There would be no difficulty in accounting in this 
way for many of the old oaken chests which we find 
in New England. There are, however, several facts 
connected with certain other chests which seem in- 
consistent with the theory of their European manu- 
facture. 

One of these facts has already been brought out 
in connection with the chest illustrated in Fig. 9, 
namely, that as many as forty chests made after this 
particular pattern have already been found within a 
limited territory. If we reflect that this number in- 
cludes only those known to two or three persons 
who have studied this point, and that many other 




Fig. 8 
CARVED OAKEN CHEST WITH TWO DRAWERS 

1680-1700 



CHESTS 2$ 

chests of the same kind doubtless exist within the 
same area, and that a goodly number must also have 
disappeared through removals and decay, we can 
easily see that the number of these chests, which 
have been in use in Hartford County, must have 
considerably exceeded the figures here given. 

The most natural and reasonable explanation of 
this would be that these chests were made in the 
region where so many have been found. 

According to the best collectors and dealers in 
and about Boston, this particular pattern of chest 
does not occur in Eastern Massachusetts. There is 
one in Memorial Hall at Deerfield, Mass., said to 
have been brought from Scotland about 1675. 

The design of the carving is pretty certainly Eu- 
ropean ; but none of the connoisseurs in England, 
Scotland, Holland, and Belgium, who have been con- 
sulted, had ever before seen this pattern. 

Another fact of much importance in studying the 
origin of New England chests is that yellow pine 
was used to a considerable extent in their construc- 
tion. It is a very common occurrence to find an 
oaken chest with its lid, back, and bottom all made 
of pine ; and if a drawer or drawers are present, their 
backs and bottoms are also of pine. All the chests 
made after the design seen in Fig. 9 have pine in the 
parts here mentioned. 

The best English authorities have assured us that 



26 CHESTS 

they had never seen any pine whatever in the oaken 
chests and cupboards made in England during the 
seventeenth century. This would appear to be the 
rule also for Holland, Belgium, and Northwestern 
Germany. There is, however, one exception, at least, 
in the Thaulow Museum at Kiel, No. 925 of the cata- 
logue of 1884. This is a large cupboard in which 
pine is found in places similar to those mentioned in 
our chests. 

The habit of making chests with one drawer un- 
derneath was practiced in Europe in the seventeenth 
century; but, according to the best information that 
we can obtain, chests with two tiers of drawers un- 
derneath must have been exceedingly rare and excep- 
tional, if, indeed, they were made at all. 

The color of the oak in many New England chests 
corresponds to that found in old timbers of the 
American white oak taken from houses known to 
have been built considerably more than a century 
ago. The color of the American white oak, the 
Quercus alba, is, as a rule, several shades lighter than 
the European oak. This color test, however, is not 
always available, as some specimens of European oak 
are much lighter than others, and the wood of some 
chests made of American oak may have acquired, 
through age and exposure, a much darker hue than 
the average. When, however, we see in this country 
a piece of oak with its color nearly or quite as dark 




Fig. 9 
CARVED OAKEN CHEST WITH TWO DRAWERS 

1680-1 700 



CHESTS * 



27 



as the wood of the American black walnut, we do 
not hesitate to pronounce it European. In doubt- 
ful cases the presence of pine, or of more than one 
drawer, would speak in favor of American origin. 

The following items show that plates, hinges, and 
locks for chests and cupboards were kept in stock 
presumably for new work, as well as for the repair of 
old pieces : — 

" A duzen of playts for chests, 1 s. 6 d." — Inven- 
tory William Ludkin, Boston, 1652. 

" 1 doz cupboard locks at 12 s." — Inventory Cap- 
tain Bozone Allen, Boston, 1652. 

" 1 doz of Chist Locks at 12 s." — Inventory Henry 
Shrimpton, Boston, 1666. 

" 14 pr chest hinges, ,£1 1 s." " 70 pr chest joynts 
£i- 3- 4." " 72 pr cross garnetts and chest joynts, 
£4. 12." " 2 doz \ chest locks, £1 10." " 10 doz 
of trunk handles .£3." — Inventory Robert Cutler, 
Charlestown, Mass., 1664-65. 

In the inventory of David Saywell, a joiner of 
Boston, made in 1672, the following articles of furni- 
ture are enumerated under the head of " new work," 
namely : — 

" 2 New Bedsteads, 32 s., 10 Joint Stoolls, 6 Chaire 
frames, 40 s." "2 Chests, 3 tables, 1 Cubboard, 2 
Desks, 2 Boxes, two Cabbinets and sum new work 
in the shop not finisht, £12. 12. 00." 

From the testimony of the witnesses as preserved 



28 CHESTS 

in the records of Essex County Court, Massachu- 
setts, November term, 1674, Simons vs. Ames, it ap- 
pears that Samuel Simons, a joiner, had made a cup- 
board for Edmund Bridges for the sum of £$• 

In the inventory of Henry Messinger, a joiner, 
made in Boston in 1681, "A tabell and chest of 
drawers not finished " are found " in the shop." 

There are no valid reasons why carved and paneled 
chests should not have been made in New England 
in the seventeenth century. That the colonists were 
early supplied with skilled labor is shown by the fol- 
lowing list of trades represented in Boston in 1647, 
given by Captain Edward Johnson, in his " Wonder 
Working Providence," namely, " Carpenters, joiners, 
glaziers, painters, gunsmiths, locksmiths, blacksmiths, 
naylers, cutlers, weavers, brewers, bakers, costermon- 
gers, feltmakers, braziers, pewterers, tinkers, rope 
makers, masons, lime, brick, and tile makers, cord- 
makers, turners, pump makers, wheelers, glovers, fell- 
mungers, and furriers." Shipbuilding was begun as 
early as 1631, and carried on very extensively. 

It is generally conceded that oaken chests were 
made by joiners in Europe in the seventeenth cen- 
tury. If so, why should not joiners have made them 
here also ? If it should be answered, that joiners 
might make the chests, but that special skill was 
needed for the carving, we are ready with the proof 
that even carvers were not wanting, as in Savage's 




FlQ. 10 

CARVED OAKEN CHEST WITH THREE DRAWERS 

1680-1700 



CHESTS 29 

" Genealogical Dictionary " we find that Edward 
Budd, a carver, was living in Boston in "1668, and 
several years before ; " and in Wyman's " Geneal- 
ogies and Estates of Charlestown," Richard Knight 
is given as "a carver aged 53 years in 1676." 



CHAPTER II. 

CUPBOARDS. 

In a list of the accounts of the constables of the 
Castle of Dover, dated December 20, 1344, "j. tabu- 
lam vocatam coppebord " is mentioned. In another, 
dated January 26, 1361, we find the item, " j. table 
appelle cupbord." How much earlier than the year 
1344 the word clipboard appears in our language we 
do not know. It was used at first, literally, to des- 
ignate the table or board on which the cups were 
placed. It is believed by most antiquaries that these 
early cupboards were in the main open structures, 
and it is possible that they remained so during the 
fourteenth century and a portion of the fifteenth. 

In the houses of great personages the cupboard 
was sometimes a very stately piece of furniture, with 
steps or stages, on which during feasts the house- 
hold plate was displayed with great ostentation. The 
high cupboard in the item, " De viijd. rec. pro ij 
pannis lineis pro alto copard," in the inventory of 
Thomas De Dalby, Archdeacon of Richmond, made 
May 21, 1400, and published by the Surtees Society, 
may have been one of these grand pieces. 



CUPBOARDS 31 

At what time the word cupboard began to be ap- 
plied to inclosed structures is an interesting question. 
A dressoir, partly inclosed below, is given by Viol- 
let-le-Duc in his view of a chamber in a chateau of 
the fourteenth century. The buffets and dressoirs of 
the fifteenth century are often represented with a lit- 
tle closet just beneath the table. A dressoir in the 
tapestry of Nancy is inclosed from the table to the 
floor. As the fashions in England followed those of 
the Continent, it is not at all unlikely that some of 
the earliest English cupboards were inclosed in the 
manner and to the extent here described, instead of 
being altogether plain and open structures. 

The " cupbord with two almeries," in Rokewode's 
" Hundred of Thingoe," from the will of Elizabeth 
Drury, made in 1475, shows that inclosed cupboards 
were made in England at that time. We have found 
several references to inclosed cupboards in the Eng- 
lish wills and inventories of the sixteenth century. 
The following is an instance from the will of Gilys 
Levyt, made in 1552, and published by the Camden 
Society, namely, " My newe cubbord w th ye presse 

t " 

in y . 

The mediaeval English words for inclosed pieces 
of furniture with doors and shelves were almery and 
press. Almery, written also aumbry, ambry, etc., 
was in use, according to the " New English Diction- 
ary," as early as 1393. It is constantly met with in 



32 CUPBOARDS 

some of its forms in the English wills and inven- 
tories during the next two hundred years, but gradu- 
ally gave way towards the close of the sixteenth cen- 
tury to the words cupboard and press. It was used 
for inclosing various things, such as precious objects, 
food, and clothing, and corresponded strictly to the 
armoire of the French. 

The first use of the word press that we have noted 
occurs in the item, " De pretio ij pressurarum lig- 
nearum pro vestibus couservandis, cum foliis ac clavi- 
bus et serzs," recorded in 1552-53 in the inventory of 
William Duffield, Canon Residentiary of York, etc. 
Its primary use for storing and preserving clothes 
seems to have continued to be its principal use, as 
in the inventories of the fifteenth and sixteenth 
centuries presses are usually found in the cham- 
bers, and are oftenest spoken of in connection with 
clothing. 

We have seen that the word clipboard had begun 
to extend its original meaning of a board or table 
for cups as early certainly as the latter part of the 
fifteenth century, it being at this time occasionally 
applied to inclosed structures. 

The second or new meaning of this word had be- 
come so well established by the latter part of the six- 
teenth century that the words clipboard, almery, and 
press were then sometimes used as convertible terms, 
as in the following items, namely, " ij almeries or 




Fig. 11 
CARVED OAKEN BOX 
About 16so 



CUPBOARDS 33 

cupbords ; " "a presse or cupbord ; " the first from 
the inventory of Julian Mitford, made in 1587, and 
published by the Surtees Society, the second from 
the inventory of Hugh Bellot, Bishop of Chester, 
dated 1596, and published by the Chetham Society. 
If further proof be needed of the entirely new sig- 
nification which this word had acquired, it will be 
found in the item, " A presse of waynescoote w lh a 
cubbord in the same," from the inventory of William 
Glaseor, dated 1588-89, and published by the Chet- 
ham Society. 

The word cupboard, therefore, at this time was ap- 
plied to two distinct classes of objects, the one open, 
the other inclosed. Many of the first, with their 
furniture of plate, were designed for banqueting halls 
and chambers, and in the sixteenth and seventeenth 
centuries were sometimes called livery-cupboards and 
sometimes court-cupboards. The secorfd kind was a 
cupboard in the new sense of the word, with doors 
and shelves, into which anything and everything was 
put, and had no necessary connection with the dining- 
room. It corresponded to the almeries of the earlier 
inventories, and in the latter part of the sixteenth 
century, and through the seventeenth, was called by 
some a press cupboard and by others a wainscot 
cupboard. 

The early inventories of New England abound 
with cupboards as with chests. Among the various 



34 CUPBOARDS 

entries we find, "cupboard," "small cupboard," "great 
cupboard," "court-cupboard," "livery-cupboard," "side 
cupboard," " press cupboard," " joined cupboard," 
" wainscot cupboard," " hanging cupboard," " side- 
board cupboard," and " cupboard with drawers." We 
cannot recollect having seen the word almery in the 
New England records. 

The varieties included under the general name of 
cupboard were doubtless very numerous, ranging 
from the smallest and plainest to the largest and 
most pretentious pieces ; about the only features that 
they had in common were their doors and shelves, 
for, with the exception of some court and livery-cup- 
boards, it is probable that the cupboards of the seven- 
teenth century were inclosed structures. 

A court-cupboard is mentioned in the inventory of 
William Clark, of Salem, Mass., dated 1647. After 
this time they are frequently met with in the New 
England probate records, the last one noted being in 
the estate of the Reverend Samuel Stowe, of Middle- 
town, inventoried in the year 1704. 

They occur in the English inventories as early as 
1586, in which year three "courte cubberds " were 
apprized in the inventory of Thomas Brickwell, 
Esquire, published by the Surtees Society. 

In addition to the allusions to these pieces found 
in the writings of the old dramatic authors and lexi- 
cographers, we have notes of one hundred and six- 



—H&g-^r^-"--. 




Fig. 12 

CARVED OAKEN BOX 

Dated 1649 



CUPBOARDS 35 

teen court-cupboards taken from wills and inven- 
tories made between the years 1586 and 1704. In 
thirty-five instances these were obtained from Eng- 
lish sources, and in the remaining eighty-one from 
the New England records. Let us first study the 
court-cupboard as it appeared in England. 

They are found in the halls, the parlors, and the 
chambers, and were part of the furniture of the aris- 
tocracy and of people of rank and wealth. 

The prices before the year 1600 are given in nine 
instances as follows : — 

" In the hall, One greate cobberde and ij courte 
cubberds, 16s." "In the greate chambre, j cowrte 
cubberd and j little coffer, 3 s. 4d." — Inventory of 
Thomas Brickwell, 1 585-86, above mentioned. 

" In the chamber called the greate chamber, A 
court cubbord, with a carpett to the same, 5 s." — In- 
ventory of Henrie Brickwell, 1589-90. Publications 
of Surtees Society. 

" In the dyninge chamber, ij courte cupbordes, vs." 
" In y e great chamber of wallnut, iij courte cupbordes, 
xij s." — Inventory of Hugh Bellot, before cited. 

From these data it is apparent that the court-cup- 
boards of this period were inexpensive structures, the 
prices of those belonging to the estate of Bishop Bel- 
lot ranging from two shillings six pence to four shil- 
lings. It is true that in England the purchasing 
power of money in 1596 was from nine to ten times 



36 CUPBOARDS 

as great as to-day. With the most liberal of these 
estimates, however, the present valuation of Bishop 
Bellot's court-cupboards would only be from twenty- 
five to forty shillings in English money. The prices 
of other cupboards in the inventories of this period 
range from one to fifty shillings, those valued at from 
ten to twenty shillings being of frequent occurrence. 
Court-cupboards were, therefore, among the cheaper 
kinds of cupboards. 

Very valuable information as to the construction 
and use of these cupboards is given by Cotgrave, 
in his " Dictionarie of the French and English 
Tongues," published in London, in 1611. A buffet 
is here defined to be, " A court - cupboord, or high- 
standing cupboord ; " and a dressoir to be, " A cup- 
boord ; a court -cupboord (without box, or drawer), 
onely to set plate on." 

There are to-day two interpretations of the defini- 
tion here given to the word dressoir. By some it is 
held that Cotgrave meant to express that a court- 
cupboard should be called a dressoir only when made 
without a box or drawer, and that the existence of 
other court -cupboards with the box or drawer was 
implied. According to this view some court -cup- 
boards, at the beginning of the seventeenth century, 
were entirely open, while others were inclosed to a 
limited extent at least. 

By others it is believed that the parenthesis " (with- 



CUPBOARDS 37 

out box, or drawer) " was solely intended to explain 
the word cozirt-cupboard — that Cotgrave's notion was 
that all court-cupboards were made without boxes or 
drawers. 

The latter view is evidently the one held by the 
late Halliwell-Phillipps, who, with full knowledge of 
Cotgrave's definition of dressoir, has defined, in his 
" Dictionary of Archaic and Provincial Words," tenth 
edition, London, 1887, a court -cupboard to be "A 
movable sideboard, generally covered with plate, and 
in fact used solely for that purpose, without drawers." 

There is proof, however, that the court-cupboards 
of these early days were sometimes provided with a 
drawer or other inclosure. In an inventory without 
name, but dated 16 10, published in the work enti- 
tled " Ancient Inventories of Furniture, Pictures, 
Tapestry, Plate, &c," by James Orchard Halliwell, 
London, 1854, we find among the furniture of the 
Tapestry Chamber the following pieces, namely, " A 
wainescott table coulered redd and varnished." " A 
fayer court cubberd soe coulered, with a drawer and 
cubberd cloth of Indyan stuff." 

Again, in Chapman's " Roaring Girl," written in 
161 1, occurs the sentence, "Place that in the court- 
cupboard." 

Other cotemporary information as to the use of 
the court - cupboard is contained in the following 
passages : — 



38 CUPBOARDS 

" Away with the joint-stools, remove the court-cupboard, look 
to the plate." — Romeo and Juliet, Act I., Scene 5. 

" Here shall stand my court-cupboard, with its furniture of 
plate." — Chapman's Monsieur D'Olive, Act III., Scene 1, 1606. 

" And so for the feast, you have your court-cupboards planted 
with flagons, cans, cups, beakers, bowls, goblets, basins, and 
ewers." — Chapman's May-Day, 1611. 

That some court-cupboards were more valuable 
than others, or that they began to be made differ- 
ently as the seventeenth century advanced, is ren- 
dered probable by the price given in the following 
instance : — 

" In Parlor, One court cubbord, 10 s." — Inventory 
of John Chetwode, Esq., July, 161 5. Lichfield (Eng- 
land) District Probate Registry. 

That they were sometimes carved is made certain 
by the following quotation from Corbet, who, like 
Shakespeare, Chapman, and Cotgrave, saw these 
pieces in use: — 

" With a lean visage, like a carv'd face 
On a court-cupboard." 

Iter Boreale. 1618-21. (Gilchrist.) 

So far as we know there are no cupboards in ex- 
istence that are known to have been called court-cup- 
boards in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, 
nor are there any illustrations of such pieces. There 
is, however, possibly one exception to the latter state- 
ment. In his notes to the court-cupboard, mentioned 
in " Romeo and Juliet," Singer says : — 




Rg. 13 
CUPBOARD IN STATIONERS' HALL, LONDON 

1670-'80 



CUPBOARDS 39 

" The court cupboard was the ancient sideboard : it was a 
cumbrous piece of furniture, with stages or shelves, gradually 
receding like stairs, to the top, whereon the plate was displayed 
at festivals. . . . There is a print in a curious work entitled 
'Laurea Austriaca,' folio, 1627, representing an entertainment 
given by King James I. to the Spanish Ambassadors in 1623, 
from which the reader will get a better notion of the court cup- 
board than volumes of description would afford him." 

" Laurea Austriaca " must be a very rare as well 
as curious work. The library of the British Museum 
does not contain a copy, nor has any trace of the 
book or any other reference whatever to it been 
found after a somewhat prolonged search. 

If the cupboard in this print (which no doubt con- 
forms closely to the above description) is mentioned 
in the text as a court-cupboard, it would be exceed- 
ingly valuable as a cotemporary representation of 
this piece of furniture. But as Singer is silent on 
this point, and the work cannot at present be con- 
sulted, we cannot feel sure that the piece in question 
was a veritable court-cupboard, nor can we deter- 
mine how much value should be attached to the 
views expressed by this writer as to the form and 
construction of court-cupboards in general. 

The idea of pieces with steps like stairs for the 
display of plate has descended from the receding 
stages of the Flemish dressoir of the fifteenth cen- 
tury. It also has for more modern authority such 
items as the following : " At y e greate chamber dore ; " 



40 CUPBOARDS 

" A thing made like stayrs to set plate on," from 
an inventory dated 1603, and published in the " His- 
tory and Antiquities of Hengrave, Suffolk," by J. 
Gage. London, 1822. 

There are two pieces in Stationers' Hall in Lon- 
don, which were referred to as court -cupboards as 
early as 1766 by Steevens, in his edition of Shake- 
speare of that date. These same pieces were de- 
scribed as court-cupboards by John Gough Nichols 
as late as January 20, i860, in a paper read by him 
in Stationers' Hall. With this history a study of 
these pieces should not be omitted from any serious 
inquiry as to the shape and general appearance of 
the court-cupboard. 

Through the courtesy of Charles Robert Riving- 
ton, Clerk and Registrar of Stationers' Hall, we were 
permitted to examine these cupboards in the summer 
of 1886, and to have a drawing of one of them made 
for illustration. They are alike, and it is believed 
were made by Colledge when he built the hall in 
1670, after the great fire. Their dimensions are as 
follows : Hight, to the top of the eagle's head, nine 
feet ; width, thirty-six and one half inches ; depth of 
the shelves, ten and one half inches ; depth of the 
lower shelf or table, sixteen and one half inches. 

An examination of these- pieces leads one to be- 
lieve that the lower shelf or table was originally 
deeper than at present, and that it also stood higher 




Fig. 14 
COURT-CUPBOARD III HALL OF CHRIST CHURCH COLLEGE, OXFORD 

1590-1625 



CUPBOARDS 41 

up from the floor. It is still the custom to place cer- 
tain portions of the gold and silver plate on these 
cupboards when the Company dines in the Hall. 
One of these cupboards is shown in Fig. 13, from 
a faithful drawing made by Mr. J. P. Emslie, of 
London. 

Finally, in Shaw's " Specimens of Ancient Furni- 
ture," with descriptions by Sir Samuel Rush Mey- 
rick, London, 1836, are two pieces of the early seven- 
teenth century period (Plates XXVI. and XXVII.), 
which are put forward as possible specimens of 
the court-cupboard. A cupboard similar in design 
to the first of these is illustrated by Halliwell, in 
his sumptuous edition of Shakespeare, in connection 
with his notes to the court-cupboard in " Romeo and 
Juliet." These three pieces resemble the cupboard 
now in the hall of Christ Church College, Oxford, 
which is shown in Fig. 14, reproduced from a draw- 
ing made for us by Mr. Emslie. 

From this history of the court-cupboard in Eng- 
land, we find it in use as early as 1586 in the halls, 
parlors, and chambers of the nobility and gentry; 
that at this time it was valued in the inventories at 
from two shillings six pence to four shillings ; that 
in the first years of the seventeenth century it was 
described as a high-standing piece, either entirely 
open or partially inclosed, and used to set plate on ; 
that there are grounds for believing that in some 



42 CUPBOARDS 

cases the ascending shelves were made to recede like 
stairs ; and that, in the opinion of later antiquaries, 
such cupboards as the one in Christ Church Hall at 
Oxford and those in Stationers' Hall in London are 
such as were called court - cupboards in their early 
days. 

It is quite possible that a date considerably earlier 
than 15S6 will be established for these pieces, — that 
the expression cozcrt-ctipboard will be found at least 
coeval with that of livery-cupboard, which, as we shall 
see, was in use in the early part of the century. 

From the facts here adduced as to the variable 
construction of court-cupboards at the beginning of 
the seventeenth century, as well as from the well 
known mutability of all fashions, we may safely con- 
clude that the early court - cupboards not only dif- 
fered from each other, but also from those that suc- 
ceeded them. These considerations are quite as 
important in the study of court-cupboards as in that 
of any other article of furniture or dress which ex- 
tended over a period of one to two centuries. 

In New England, as well as in the mother country, 
the court-cupboard was found in the hall, the parlor, 
or the chambers of the chief magistrates, the clergy, 
and other persons of wealth and social position. 

The prices, given separately in twenty -seven in- 
stances, range from eight shillings up to four pounds. 
It was below one pound apiece for fifteen cupboards ; 



CUPBOARDS 43 

from one to two pounds for eight, and above two 
pounds each for the remaining four. The facts as 
to the dates, ownership, and prices of the last group 
are contained in the following items : — 

" i court cubberd, £2 3 s." — Inventory of Stephen 
Goodyear, Deputy Governor of New Haven, 1658. 

"One court coobard, £2 15s." — Inventory of Mrs. 
Mary Glover, Boston, 1659-60. 

" One court cubbert, 50 s." — Inventory of Joseph 
Buckminster, Boston, 1668-69. 

" 1 court cupboard, £4." — Inventory of Edmund 
Jacklin, Boston, 1681. 

The cheaper pieces of the first group are distribu- 
ted over the period embraced between the years 1653 
and 1690, eight being before the year 1670, and seven 
from 1670 to 1690. Court-cupboards, as we shall see, 
were among the highest priced cupboards in New 
England. 

We have already noticed that in 16 15 an English 
court-cupboard, in the estate of John Chetwode, was 
apprized at ten shillings — more than double the 
valuation of those in the inventory of Bishop Bellot, 
made nineteen years previously. This, together with 
the fact that some court-cupboards in New England 
are found not only high in price, but also among the 
highest priced of all cupboards, tends to show that 
the style and finish of these pieces was gradually im- 
proved, so that in New England, at least, by the mid- 



44 CUPBOARDS 

die of the seventeenth century they were among the 
most elaborate and costly of all cupboards, and we 
have little doubt that future studies will result in 
finding similar changes in the English court-cup- 
board of this time. 

The wages of carpenters in Massachusetts during 
the seventeenth century were about two shillings a 
day. The price of wheat, according to Felt, from 
1648 to 1694 was pretty uniformly five shillings per 
bushel. 

A " court cubbard w th one drawer," valued at six- 
teen shillings, is mentioned in 1658 in the inventory 
of William Francklin, of Boston. Another, with one 
drawer, appears in the inventory of William King, of 
Salem, dated 1684; and one with three drawers, in 
the inventory of Doctor Samuel Alcock, of Boston, 
made in 1677. These are the only references to in- 
closure in the records of the eighty-one New Eng- 
land court-cupboards which we have analyzed. 

The only allusions to the uses of the court-cup- 
board are found in the following extracts : — 

" A Court Cubboard w" 1 Cubbord Cloath, glases 
and Earthenware, at £ 1 12 s." — Inventory of Nich- 
olas Davison, Charlestown, 1664-65. 

" 1 courte cubbard cushon ; and cloth and earthen 
and glass furniture, £1 10s." — Inventory of Jona- 
than Rainsford, Boston, 1671. 

" 1 court cupboard & cupbord cloath with earthen- 




Fig. 15 

COURT-CUPBOARD 

Second half seventeenth century 



CUPBOARDS 45 

ware on it, £i ios." — Inventory of Christopher 
Gibson, Boston, 1674. 

Are there to-day any old pieces of furniture which 
answer to the history and descriptions here given, 
and which were probably called court-cupboards in 
the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries ? 

We think that this question may be answered 
affirmatively, and that the open cupboard illustrated 
by Shaw (Plate XXVII.), to which reference has al- 
ready been made, and also the one in the Hall of 
Christ Church College in Oxford, here given, are 
two such examples. 

The only difficulty in classing these pieces as court- 
cupboards is in the matter of price. Both are early 
examples, and belong to the period in which we find 
court-cupboards valued in the inventories at a few 
shillings only. But this objection, which will proba- 
bly disappear, should not have great weight in the 
presence of such specimens, which were clearly in- 
tended for the display of plate and other precious 
vessels of glass and earthenware. 

As the cupboards in Stationers' Hall in London 
were called court-cupboards more than a hundred and 
twenty years ago by so good a scholar as Steevens, 
and as we find them open and " high-standing," and 
well adapted for the display of plate, it seems quite 
likely that we have in them one of the forms of the 
court-cupboard. They are doubtless larger and bet- 



46 CUPBOARDS 

ter than the average of their type, because designed 
for a guildhall in which a great number were to dine 
together. 

We do not believe that the style of the court-cup- 
board in England was regulated by etiquette or any 
other arbitrary rule, but that from the prices given, 
the early specimens were, in most cases, very plain 
and simple affairs, consisting probably of an open 
frame with stages or shelves. Under one of these 
shelves a box or drawer was sometimes placed. Oc- 
casionally a larger or finer specimen was enriched 
with carving. Some of these latter, on account of 
their beauty or value, have been preserved, but the 
cheaper and less ornate pieces seem to have disap- 
peared. 

There are no cupboards remaining in New Eng- 
land, as far as we know, like the one in Christ Church 
Hall, though there can be but little doubt that such 
were in use in this country. There is, however, here 
as in England, a style of cupboard differing from the 
above only in having its upper part inclosed. One 
is shown in Fig. 15. It belongs to Mr. William C. 
Waters, of Salem, Mass. 

We are strongly inclined to believe that these 
pieces were called court - cupboards in the seven- 
teenth century. The part below was left open, like 
the French and Flemish dressoirs of similar construc- 
tion, to receive the precious vessels of silver, glass, 




Fig. 16 
COURT-CUPBOARD 

Second half seventeenth century 



CUPBOARDS 47 

and faience, which were also displayed from the cup- 
board's head. On the continent of Europe such 
pieces were called dressoirs, and that they answered 
the same purpose in England and in this country 
seems altogether likely. Unless we suppose them 
court or livery-cupboards, — which, as we shall see, 
were probably the same, — it will be difficult to clas- 
sify them. The only other articles of furniture men- 
tioned in our inventories which could have referred 
to such pieces as these are side cupboards, or, as they 
are sometimes written, sideboard cupboards. We 
have notes of fifteen of these cupboards from the 
New England inventories of the seventeenth cen- 
tury, and are inclined to think that the words side 
cupboard and sideboard cupboard were only other 
names for the court and livery-cupboard, though in 
two instances we have found them mentioned in the 
same estate with a livery-cupboard, and once with 
a court-cupboard. In the inventory of Sir Henry 
Woddrington, dated 1593, and published by the Sur- 
tees Society, " iij syde cupbordes " are mentioned. 

Another example of the court-cupboard is shown 
in Fig. 16. It is a very quaint and interesting speci- 
men. There are two drawers below the central stage. 
This piece belongs to Mrs. Charles Haddock, of Bev- 
erly, Mass., in whose family it has descended from 
some time in the seventeenth century. 

Livery-cupboards are mentioned in the English 



48 CUPBOARDS 

records as early as the year 1538. In one of the 
items of the Hengrave contract made in that year, 
and published in Gage's " History and Antiquities of 
Hengrave," above cited, it is specified that, " y e said 
hall to have ij coberds ; one benethe, at the sper, w th 
a tremor; and another, at the hygher table's inde, 
w'out a tremor; and y e cobards, they be made y e 
facyon of livery, y' is w'out doors." 

Another item in this contract calls for " two par- 
lors to be seelyd, to the heyght of the floor, and eche 
of them a livery cobard." Besides these, ten other 
livery-cupboards for the chambers are mentioned. 

In the notes of the forty -five livery- cupboards 
which we have gathered from the English records, 
the prices are given separately in only nine, all these 
being between the years 1582 and 1588. Two shil- 
lings six pence is the highest price named, and eight- 
een pence the lowest. The only information that 
we have found relating to the prices of livery-cup- 
boards in England in the seventeenth century is 
contained in the item, " Livery cupboard and carpet, 
15 s.," from the inventory of William Bullock, re- 
corded in 1667 in the Lichfield District Probate 
Registry. According to these facts the value of 
livery-cupboards in England, like that of court-cup- 
boards, was very low. 

We have notes of fifty-three livery-cupboards col- 
lected from the New England inventories from 1650 



CUPBOARDS 49 

to 1694. The prices of the cupboards alone are given 
in thirty -one cases. One was valued at £$ 16 s. in 
1663; two at £i> each in 1664 and 1666; five at 
£1 10s. each in 1650, 1666, 1672, 1690, and 1691 ; 
seven were valued from £1 to £1 5 s., and sixteen 
between three and eighteen shillings. The prices of 
livery-cupboards in New England are thus seen to 
be about the same as for court-cupboards. 

The livery-cupboards at Hengrave, according to 
the terms of the contract, were to be made without 
doors ; indeed the contract defines a livery-cupboard 
to be one without doors. The cupboard in the hall, 
" at the sper," had " a tremor," which was a hood, or 
head-piece, possibly resembling those seen upon the 
early Flemish dressoirs. From the fact that the loca- 
tion of this and the other cupboard in the hall was 
provided for, it would seem that these two pieces 
might have been stationary. 

While it was undoubtedly the rule that livery-cup- 
boards were open structures, there are, nevertheless, 
a few facts which show that in some cases they were 
more or less inclosed. In an inventory made in 
1626, and published by Halliwell in 1854, in his work 
above referred to, " 1 winscott livery cupboard with 
lock and key " is mentioned. In the inventory of 
Nicholas Upsall, of Boston, taken in 1666, "a small 
livery cubberd w th drawers" is valued at ten shil- 
lings, and in that of Jonathan Mitchell, of Cambridge, 



50 CUPBOARDS 

dated 1668, we find the item, " By a liverey cubbard 
and drawer and old cloth, 6 s. 8 d." Again, in the in- 
ventory of Mary Lusher, of Dedham, dated 1672-73, 
a livery-cupboard in the parlor is valued at £1 10 s. ; 
on the second line below, " Smale things within the 
cubbard " are mentioned. As no other cupboard oc- 
curs in the parlor, the livery-cupboard in this instance 
was inclosed. 

The following quotation from the translator of 
Comenius is, so far as we know, the only record co- 
temporary with these cupboards that has any refer- 
ence to their use. In treating of the dining-room it 
reads : — 

" Golden and gilded beakers, cruzes, great cups, crystal-glasses, 
cans, tankards, and two-ear'd pots are brought forth out of the 
cupboard and glass-case, and beeing rins'd and rubb'd with a 
pot-brush are set on the liverie-cup-board." — Janua Linguarum. 
Edition 1643. 

Here, then, in our first view of the livery-cupboard 
in use we find it set out with golden and gilded 
beakers, plate, and precious glasses. That this was 
the use to which it was put in other instances is ren- 
dered probable by the fact that it is the only kind 
of cupboard found in the halls and dining chambers 
of many estates, as, for example, that of William 
Glaseor, Vice-Chamberlain of Chester, inventoried in 
1589, and published by the Chetham Society, and 
of William Lee, a wealthy gentleman of Brandon, 




Fig. 17 

PRESS CUPBOARD 

About i860 



CUPBOARDS 51 

whose inventory, dated 1582, is published by the 
Surtees Society. Both of these gentlemen had plate, 
the former a large amount, but neither had other 
than livery-cupboards in the hall or dining chambers. 
It is reasonable, therefore, to suppose that the plate 
in these houses was displayed upon their livery-cup- 
boards. 

It is a rule, to which we have found but three ex- 
ceptions, that court-cupboards and livery-cupboards 
do not occur together in the same estate. These 
exceptions occur in the inventory of Bishop Bellot, 
before mentioned ; in that of the Right Honorable 
Lettice, Countesse of Leicester, dated 1634, and pub- 
lished by Halliwell in the work cited, and in the in- 
ventory of John Haynes, Governor of Connecticut, 
dated 1653. But in none of these instances is a 
livery-cupboard found with a court-cupboard in the 
same apartment. 

From the facts now set forth relating to court and 
livery-cupboards, — that they extended together over 
the same period ; that both were mainly open struc- 
tures, with a parallelism in price ; that their uses 
seem to have been the same ; that they occur in the 
halls, parlors, and chambers of the same people, but 
never together in the same apartment, and very rarely 
in the same house, — it would appear that one readily 
took the place and served the purposes of the other, 
if indeed they were not identical structures which 



52 CUPBOARDS 

went sometimes under one, and sometimes under the 
other name. 

It is not at all improbable that court and livery-cup- 
boards were used in some instances in parlors and in 
chambers, like the modern what-not and etagere, to 
hold a great number of miscellaneous objects, just 
as, according to Viollet-le-Duc, little dressoirs were 
sometimes used in France in the fifteenth century. 

We cannot refer to any historic example of the 
livery- cupboard, to any particular piece or illustra- 
tion that we know was called a livery-cupboard in 
the sixteenth or seventeenth century. There can be, 
however, scarcely any doubt that the descriptions 
and illustrations which have already been given in 
the study of court-cupboards are equally applicable 
to the livery-cupboard. A piece which was supposed 
to be an old livery-cupboard was sold at Christie's in 
London a few years ago, and is described by Mr. 
George T. Robinson, in his very valuable and inter- 
esting papers on furniture, published in " The Art 
Journal " during the year 1881, as follows : — 

" It was of rude construction, consisting of three stages, sup- 
ported by four legs, and having beneath its middlemost shelf a 
shallow drawer for table linen." 

The court-cupboard with a drawer, which we have 
cited from an English inventory dated 16 10, was 
colored red. There was also a red table in the same 
chamber. We often find certain parts of old cup- 




Fig. 18 
A PRESS CUPBOARD 

1650-'76 



CUPBOARDS 53 

boards colored black, such as their turned pillars, 
mouldings, and applied ornaments. But a red cup- 
board and a red table in the same apartment sug- 
gest that they were made to go together. 

A similar instance is found in the Boston records 
(Suffolk- Deeds, Lib. I. 136). The house known by 
the sign of the "Kings Arms" was sold in 1651, 
with certain portions of its furniture. In the inven- 
tory of the latter is the following item : — 

" Imprimis in the chamber called the Exchange 
one halfe headed bedsted w th blew pillars, one livery 
Cupbord coloured blue, one long table, benches two 
formes, & one carved chaire." 

We come now to a class of cupboards wholly in- 
closed. These were by no means so rare in New 
England as those inclosed in their upper parts only, 
which, as we have shown, were probably called court 
and livery-cupboards. 

Inclosed cupboards are variously referred to in the 
inventories as cupboards, great cupboards, press 
cupboards, presses, cupboards with a press, joined 
cupboards, and wainscot cupboards. When the 
New England inventories began to be written in the 
third decade of the seventeenth century, those pieces 
of furniture which stood up from the floor to various 
hights, with doors and shelves, were called cup- 
boards and presses. Cupboards were very numerous, 
and like the old almeries held almost anything that 



54 CUPBOARDS 

could be put into them, while the presses proper 
were designed as receptacles for clothing, but were 
probably used to some extent for other purposes. 
It is quite likely that the words clipboard and press 
were used somewhat loosely in the inventories of 
those days, and that different apprizers have recorded 
the same or similar pieces under different names, — 
sometimes as a cupboard, sometimes as a press, and 
sometimes as a press cupboard. 

We show in Fig. 17 one of the larger and finer 
cupboards to which reference has just been made. 
It belongs in the Hosmer collection. It is made in 
two separate parts, the upper and lower, which are 
fitted together at the top of the drawer so as to 
conceal the joint. The upper part represents three 
faces of an octagon, its sides sloping from behind to 
the door in front, the same as in the two court-cup- 
boards in Salem, here illustrated. Just below this 
part is a large drawer extending across the front, with 
its face moulded and carved, and its ends mitered 
with the carved mouldings at the sides. The part 
below the drawer is opened into by two doors. The 
piece is plain below, but more or less enriched above 
with carving, paneling, and applied ornaments. This 
cupboard was bought a few years since near Col- 
chester, Conn., very much out of repair, and with 
some of its parts missing. These have been care- 
fully restored with strict regard to the original de- 



CUPBOARDS 55 

sign. It is fifty-four and three quarters inches high, 
fifty and a half inches long, and twenty inches wide. 

In Fig. 1 8 is seen another specimen of the same 
type, but with differences enough in the ornamental 
details to render it a desirable piece to illustrate. It 
belongs to the estate of Burgis P. Starr, late of 
Hartford, Conn., and was valued very highly by this 
gentleman because of its descent from his Stan- 
ancestors. It measures fifty-seven inches in hight, 
forty-three and one half inches in length, and twenty- 
two inches in width. There is no carving on it, 
but the front of the drawer and the raised panels on 
the doors are inlaid with colored woods. The col- 
umns, the turned ornaments, and the sunken mould- 
ings are here, as in other specimens of the kind, 
colored black. Besides these two specimens, we 
have seen four others like the first, and have knowl- 
edge of four more, ten in all, which have been 
owned, and used in Connecticut probably from some 
time in the seventeenth century. 

Sometimes a piece is found with its upper cup- 
board made as in the preceding examples, but with 
two or three drawers in place of the lower cup- 
board. 

Another style, differing from the foregoing mainly 
in the shape of its upper part, is shown in Fig. 19. 
The upper story is rectangular and divided into two 
cupboards, which are set back under the entablature 



56 CUPBOARDS 

about five and a half inches. The columns at the 
sides are good examples of the turner's art. The 
large cupboard or press below has but one door. 
The carving, applied ornaments, and drawer front 
closely resemble those on the chest shown in Fig. 
9. This cupboard, now in the possession of the 
writer, had been owned in an old Connecticut fam- 
ily for several generations. It is of oak, fifty-six 
inches high, forty-nine inches long, and twenty-two 
inches wide. We have seen five others just like it, 
all from Connecticut, where, like the chests of the 
same style, they were doubtless made in the last half 
of the seventeenth century. One of these belongs 
to Yale University, a bequest from the late Charles 
Wyllys Betts. 

Cupboards of this style, with plain panels and 
without carving, are occasionally found in New Eng- 
land. We have seen two such pieces. 

Besides the above, at least two other varieties of 
this style are found here. One of these is shown in 
" The House Beautiful," by Clarence Cook (Fig. 75). 
In the other the lower cupboard is shaped like the 
upper cupboards in our illustrations Figs. 15 to 18 
inclusive. It has also four turned columns, two for 
the upper, and two for the lower cupboard. 

Cupboards like the preceding and their varieties 
were in general use in England during the seven- 
teenth century. The style came into England from 




CUPBOARD 



CUPBOARDS 57 

Germany and the Netherlands, and its details may- 
be easily traced back to the designs of Hans Vrede- 
man de Vries and his cotemporaries in the sixteenth 
century. The pieces we illustrate are indeed very 
modest representatives of the elaborate armoires de- 
signed by these celebrated artists, but it needs only 
the most casual comparison to discover the striking 
resemblances between them. This is especially ap- 
parent in the architectural treatment of their upper 
parts. 

The cupboard of the seventeenth century in the 
Thaulow Museum at Kiel, referred to in the chapter 
on chests, is an exact counterpart of those in use in 
England and in her American colonies during the 
corresponding period. 

We have made several attempts to trace certain of 
these cupboards in the inventories of the families to 
which they had belonged, for the purpose of discov- 
ering what they were called in their day, but have 
not succeeded except in a single instance, and here the 
success was only partial. One of very large size, — 
six feet five inches high, five feet long, and twenty-six 
inches wide, — with the turned columns and upper 
cupboards, as in Fig. 19, was referred to, in a will 
made in 1763, as "my great cupboard." The cup- 
board and the will were shown us in the same house, 
by the descendants of the testatrix, and from the 
history of the former there could be scarcely any 



58 CUPBOARDS 

doubt that it was the piece mentioned in the docu- 
ment. 

It would appear exceedingly probable that these 
inclosed pieces went under the general name of 
Clipboard, with such prefixes as we have already 
pointed out, namely, great, joined, press, or wainscot, 
according to the facts in the case or the usage in 
the family or neighborhood. They were certainly 
not called cabinets, as some recent writers have mis- 
named them. Cabinets are not infrequently found in 
our records. One is mentioned in the following ex- 
tract from the inventory of Richard Lord, of Hart- 
ford, made in 1662, namely, " A cabbinet & cupboard 
that it stands on, £2 10 s." 

" A turn pillar cuberd " is mentioned in the inven- 
tory of Rear Admiral Thomas Graves, of Charles- 
town, made in 1653. This is the only reference to 
these turned columns that we have noted, showing, 
as has already been pointed out, that decorative de- 
tails, such as carving, applied ornaments, etc., were 
seldom employed in the old records to designate par- 
ticular pieces. As a court-cupboard also occurs in 
the inventory, we may infer that it did not have 
turned columns, and that the " turn pillar cuberd " 
was probably an inclosed structure. 

A cupboard was described in 1668 in the inven- 
tory of Thomas Hett, of Charlestown, as " A large 
Cuberd wherein a press and drawer, £1 5." 




Fig. 20 
CUPBOARD WITH DRAWERS 

1 680-1700 



CUPBOARDS 59 

A cupboard with drawers has been mentioned as 
a variety of the style represented in Figs. 17 and 18. 
Another kind of cupboard with drawers is found in 
New England, an example of which is shown in Fig. 
20. It is now the property of Yale University, and 
one of the several pieces of furniture of the seven- 
teenth century period devised to that institution by 
the late Charles Wyllys Betts. It is made of oak, 
with the exception of the bottoms of the drawers, 
which are of pine. It measures about fifty-seven 
inches in hight, fifty-one and a half in length, and 
twenty-three and a quarter in width. The upper 
part, or cupboard, is made separate from the lower, 
and has two doors. Its front is on a line with the 
fronts of the three drawers below, instead of being 
recessed and flanked with turned columns in the 
usual manner. This cupboard was bought a few 
years since in Durham, Conn. One almost exactly 
like it, in the possession of the writer, was purchased 
in the town of Madison, Conn., in 1883, from a family 
in which it had descended for many generations. 

Cupboards with drawers appear quite early in our 
records. The item already quoted in the chapter on 
chests, from the inventory of John Cotton, made in 
1653, namely, " 1 chest and 1 little cupboard, both 
with drawers, £$ 10 s.," contains the first mention of 
them that we have noted. 

In 1657 two cupboards with drawers, valued re- 



60 CUPBOARDS 

spectively at £2 5 s. and £$ 6 s., are mentioned in 
the inventory of Governor Eaton, of New Haven. 
In 1666 the item, " 2 cubberds with drawers, £4," is 
found in the inventory of John Baker, of Boston. 
They continue to recur in the probate records, but 
do not appear to have been numerous. In 1684, 
" a cuboard with three drawers," valued at thirty 
shillings, was inventoried in the estate of Samuel 
Sendall, of Boston. 

The specimens now illustrated, and their varieties 
described in the text, include all the larger and finer 
cupboards of the seventeenth century found in New 
England of which we have any knowledge. 

Cupboards here as in England, as far back as they 
can be traced, were furnished with cupboard cloths 
of various materials and colors. All kinds of cup- 
boards, the court, the livery, and the inclosed, were 
provided with these draperies, and, on occasion, 
doubtless depended chiefly on them and the plate, 
Delft, and glassware of the house for their beauty 
and comeliness. A few extracts from the inventories 
will give the reader very valuable information as to 
the materials and prices of these textiles : — 

" One Sempiternum cubbord cloth w ,h silke frenge, 
£1. o. o." — Inventory of William Clark, Salem, 
1647. 

" 1 blue cubberd cloath." 

" 2 plaine Holland cubbard cloaths, £1 6 s." 



CUPBOARDS 6 1 

" 3 laced cubbard cloaths, £2 3 s." — Inventory 
of Governor John Haynes, Hartford, 1653. 

" -1 greene wrought cubbard cloth w th silke fringe, 
£2." — Inventory of Mrs. Ann Hibbins, Boston, 
1656. 

" 1 cambrick & 3 holond cupboard cloaths £1 
17 s." — Inventory of Richard Lord, Hartford, 1662. 

" Two cupboard cloths of pantado, 12 s." — Inven- 
tory of John Eliot, Junior, Cambridge, 1668. 

" Two cubburd cloath yallo: one at 10 s., y e other 
at 5 s." 

" One kallico cobert cloath Lased [laced] 1 5 s." — 
Inventory of Rev. Nathaniel Collins, Middletown, 
1685. 

Besides cupboard cloths, cupboard cushions are 
frequently mentioned in the New England invento- 
ries. The following items have been selected from 
notes of sixty-five cupboard cushions, and contain 
most of the details that relate to the stuffs, colors, 
and uses of these cushions : — 

" One Cubberd cuishion, 2 s." 

" 2 Cubberd cuishions of dammaske & one needle 
worke one, £1." — Inventory of William Clark, 
Salem, 1647. 

" A liverey cuberd w th a cloth and cushin, £1.6. 8." 
— Inventory of John Johnson, Roxbury, 1659. 

"1 corute cobbord : chusion: cubbord cloth, £1 
5 s." — Inventory of Jacob Sheaffe, Boston, 1659. 



62 CUPBOARDS 

" i livery cubbard, cubbard cloth i velvet cushen, 
£2." — Inventory of Henry Webb, Boston, 1660. 

" By two small cushins to set on a cubbards head, 
£2." — Inventory of Nathaniel Upham, Maiden, 
Mass., 1661-62. 

" 1 Cushion for Cubbard head, 1 s." — Inventory 
of Thomas Sallows, Salem, 1663. 

" 3 cubord head cushins." — Inventory of Richard 
Hicks, Boston, 1666. 

"A sid Cubbord with cloath & cushing, £1 6 s." 

— Inventory of Robert Lemon, Salem, 1667. 

"2 wrought cushens ffor cubberd, 12 s." — Inven- 
tory of Benjamin Richards, Boston, 1667. 

" Too cushens for a cuberd, £1 10 s." — Inventory 
of John Jeffs, Boston, 1670. 

" 1 Cubbard with 2 Covers of Cushens on it, and 
smale potts in it, 10 s." — Inventory of Richard Jack- 
son, Cambridge, 1672. 

"One cowt cubbard a cushen & cloth, £2 10 s." 

— Inventory of Stephen Talby, Boston, 1673-74. 

" One cupboard with drawes & a cushin, £1 5 s." 

— Inventory of Christopher Gibson, Boston, 1674. 

" A press & quision & cuberd cloth, £1." — Inven- 
tory of Gregory Wolterton, Hartford, 1674. 

" A livery cubbard w th cushion & cloth, £2 5 s." — 
Inventory of Fathergone Dinely, Boston, 1675. 

" Ffive cupboard cushions, £1 10 s." — Inventory 
of John Warren, Boston, 1677. 







Fio. 21 

A "BEAUFATT" 

1788 



CUPBOARDS 63 

" i needle work cupboard cushion, 10 s." — Inven- 
tory of Robert Wakeham, Boston, 1677. 

"4 wrote sideburd Cushions." — Inventory of Sam- 
uel Hale, Charlestown, 1679. 

"A Cuberd head cloath and cushin, £t> 10 s." — 
Inventory of Jonathan Avery, Dedham, 1691. 

" One cupboard, cloth, & cushion to it, £2." — 
Inventory of Jacob Eliot, Boston, 1693. 

The cushions, like the cloths, are here seen on all 
kinds of cupboards. They were placed on the 
head or top of the cupboard, but whether on the 
shelves of open livery and court-cupboards it does 
not appear. The relation of the cloth to the cush- 
ion, whether used together or not ; and, if together, 
which belonged over the other, is left undetermined 
by the records that we have studied. 

Much more space has been allowed for these ex- 
tracts than would have been given had the fashion 
of cupboard cushions in the seventeenth century 
been more widely known, and their uses better un- 
derstood. 

The old cupboards of all kinds that we have de- 
scribed began to lose favor in Boston about the year 
1680, and by the close of the century were practically 
thrown aside by people who followed the European 
fashions. No cupboards whatever are mentioned in 
the inventory of Sir William Phips, made in 1696. 
Inclosed cupboards, however, continued in use, espe- 



64 CUPBOARDS 

cially among the rural classes about Boston, for some 
time longer, and in Connecticut till the middle of the 
eighteenth century. As before mentioned, we have 
found no court or livery-cupboards in the records 
after the year 1 704. 

The piece of furniture that had the most to do 
in displacing the old cupboards was the chest of 
drawers. These, as we shall see in the next chap- 
ter, now began to be valued higher than formerly, to 
be furnished with cloths ' and cushions, and, a little 
later, to have earthen and glassware placed upon 
their tops. Another fashionable place for glass and 
earthenware was the manteltree, which from about 
the year 1 700 is frequently mentioned in the best 
houses as a resting-place for these objects. Sets of 
manteltree wares, especially designed to decorate this 
piece, were now also in vogue. 

Two new styles of cupboards appeared with the 
Queen Anne architecture, the corner cupboard and 
the buffet. According to Mr. George T. Robinson, 
of London, one of the best authorities in matters 
pertaining to old furniture, the corner cupboard in 
England was a small piece usually suspended or 
bracketed in a corner, but sometimes reaching to 
the floor. Corner cupboards, he says, were not called 
buffets in England ; the two pieces were separate 
and distinct from each other. 

The correctness of this view is sustained by old 




Fie. 22 

A "BEAUFATT" 

About 1750 



CUPBOARDS 65 

London newspapers, in which buffets and corner 
cupboards are separately mentioned in the same ad- 
vertisement. One of these advertisements appears 
in the "Daily Courant," November 4, 1719, another 
in the "Daily Post," March 18, 1723. Examples of 
these little corner cupboards may be seen in Eng- 
land in private collections, and in the shops of the 
dealers in old furniture. The first record of them 
in England that we have seen is in the advertise- 
ment of Isaac Van den Helm, a Dutch table-maker, 
found in " The Post Man," of London, March 8-10, 
1711. 

The first mention of buffets in New England that 
we have run across occurs in the following advertise- 
ment from "The Boston News - Letter," No. 576, 
April 25 to May 2, 171 5: — 

" Looking-Glasses of all sorts, glass sconces, Cabbinetts, Es- 
crutoires, Chests-of-Drawers, Tables, Beaufetts, Writing Desks, 
Bookcases with Desks, old Glasses new Silvered, and all sorts 
of Japan-work, Done and Sold by William Randle at the Sign of 
the Cabbinett & Looking-Glass Shop in Queen-Street near the 
Town House, Boston." 

The earliest use of the word in England known to 
us is in the advertisement above referred to in the 
"Daily Courant," of London, November 4, 17 19, in 
which " Beaufets " are mentioned. But that buffets 
of the style now under consideration were in use in 
London before 1 715, we may well believe from the 



66 CUPBOARDS 

proof which we have of their presence in Boston in 
that year. 

In the inventory of John Mico, of Boston, made 
March 7, 1 7 iS- 19, " glasses &c in the Bouffett"of 
the dining-room are mentioned. After this time buf- 
fets were of common occurrence. 

That they were here oftener built in as part of the 
house, instead of being movable pieces, is rendered 
tolerably certain by the great frequency with which 
they are referred to in the inventories without being 
themselves apprized. That they were often movable 
pieces of furniture, like the old cupboards, we should 
know from such advertisements as the above, and 
from their occasional valuation in the inventories, if, 
indeed, we had to-day no surviving examples. 

In New England at the present time, the words 
corner cupboard and buffet are synonymous terms, ap- 
plied indifferently to the triangular cupboards found 
in the corners of the rooms of houses built in the 
eighteenth century. How long this has been the 
case we cannot tell, but that a distinction was made 
between these pieces when they first came in use is 
evident from the difference in their prices, and from 
the fact that both are occasionally mentioned in the 
same inventory. 

The first " corner cupboard " in our notes, from 
the inventory of Mary Lidgett, of Boston, 17 19, is 
valued at 7 s. Another in 1725 was valued at 5 s., 



CUPBOARDS 67 

one in 1736 at 15 s., and one in 1745 at 12 s. But 
these prices are given in the depreciated paper money 
of the period, and if reduced to the silver standard 
would be respectively 4 s. 8d., 2 s. 4 d., 4 s. 6d., and 
2 s. 8d. In 1760, after the currency had returned to 
a silver basis, " 1 small corner cupboard " was valued 
at 2 s., in the inventory of James Clark, of Boston, 
and in 1770, a corner cupboard in the estate of Cap- 
tain John Coleman, of Hartford, was apprized as low 
as one shilling. Surely, these corner cupboards could 
not have been the pieces which are known to-day in 
New England as buffets or corner cupboards. 

On the other hand we find, in 1738, the item, " 1 
Buffett, £6," in the inventory of John Parker, of 
Boston, and " 1 bofate with a parsall of chine som 
broken, £8" in 1745, in the inventory of Captain 
David Allen, of Boston. These prices in silver would 
have been £1 15 s. 6 d. and £2 5 s. 8d. In 1761, " a 
Bofett in y e lower Room" was valued at £2 13 s. 4d., 
in silver, in the inventory of Henrietta Maria Cane," 
of Boston. 

The marked disparity in value here shown be- 
tween buffets and corner cupboards justifies the 
notion that these pieces may have been as separate 
and distinct from each other in this country as in 
England at this time. 

An instance in which both are mentioned in the 
same inventory occurs in 1752, in the estate of David 



68 CUPBOARDS 

Evans, of Boston, as follows : " A corner Japann'd 
cupboard, 4 s." " A Bofatt, 20 s." 

The first " corner Beaufatt " that we have noted is 
in the inventory of Mary Walker, of Boston, dated 
1734. Another is mentioned in 1752, and another 
in 1754. 

So far as we can ascertain, the movable buffet in 
New England was always placed in a corner of the 
room. Buffets that were fixed were usually built in 
the corners, but sometimes at the sides of the apart- 
ment, and when in the latter situation did not pro- 
ject into the room, but were recessed like closets, 
and opened into by doors on a line with the wall. 
Buffet doors were sometimes single and sometimes 
double. They were usually divided horizontally be- 
low the middle, making an upper and a lower part. 
The upper doors were often glazed. Occasionally 
the upper part was made without doors. It was then 
either left open or closed with a curtain. 

The interiors of the better pieces were often fin- 
ished with a shell-like hood or dome richly carved. 
Below this were dainty shelves beautifully shaped, 
with circular projections from their centers. A good 
example of these, from an old house in Middletown, 
Conn., built about the year 1735, is seen in Fig. 21. 

In our next illustration (Fig. 22) is shown a very 
fine buffet, from a house in Wethersfield, Conn., built 
about 1750. 




Fig. 23 
SIDEBOARD, STYLE OF HEPPELWHITE 
Made in 1804 



CUPBOARDS 69 

It was the fashion in Philadelphia to make mov- 
able buffets of mahogany. Many fine examples are 
yet to be seen in the shops of the dealers. Some of 
them are of the same style as the one that is repre- 
sented on page 256 of " The House Beautiful," before 
cited. 

After the buffet the next movable pieces answer- 
ing somewhat to the old cupboards were the side- 
boards of Heppelwhite and Sheraton. Sideboards 
are mentioned in the English inventories as early as 
1553. In this year " ij longe syttebordes" are re- 
corded in the inventory of Thurstan Tyldisley, pub- 
lished by the Chetham Society. In 1563, "a syde 
bord " is found in the inventory of Ralf Huton, pub- 
lished by the Surtees Society, and in 1573, " twoo 
longe tables or syddebordes in the hall w th ffoure 
fformes accordingelye," are put down in the inven- 
tory of Dame Anne, widow of Sir Thomas Langton, 
published by the Chetham Society. 

These English sideboards were probably not side- 
boards in the modern sense of the word, but, as may 
be seen from the item last quoted, were merely side 
tables. 

Sideboards are occasionally met with in the New 
England records of the seventeenth century. " One 
Chest & a side Board " are together valued at/i 2 s., 
in the inventory of Henry Ambrose, of Boston, in 
1658, and in 1661, " 1 Cubberd & a side board," at 
£2 5 s., in that of Abiel Everill, of the same place. 



70 CUPBOARDS 

What these sideboards were it would now be very- 
difficult to tell with any certainty, but that they were 
possibly something more than simple tables is, at 
least, suggested by the occurrence in the inventories 
of two other similar names of rather indefinite mean- 
ing, namely, the side cupboards and sideboard cup- 
boards, to which we have before referred. 

In "Paradise Regained," published in 1671, Mil- 
ton speaks of " a stately sideboard ; " and in 1693, in 
his translation of Juvenal, Dryden says : " No side- 
boards then with gilded plate were dress'd." In an 
advertisement in " The General Advertiser," of Lon- 
don, September 13, 1746, " A large marble Sideboard 
Table with Lavatory and Bottle Cistern " is men- 
tioned. This is the earliest instance of a sideboard 
with these accessories that we have noted. 

In 1753, and again in 1760, Chippendale published 
designs for " sideboard tables." They were tables 
five to six feet long and two feet eight, to two feet 
ten, inches high, to be made with wooden or marble 
tops, but without any drawers or closets underneath. 
The designs are very naked and inhospitable look- 
ing affairs. The notion that Chippendale made side- 
boards inclosed below the table with drawers and 
cupboards is incorrect ; these belong to a later date. 

We have seen no mention of sideboard tables in 
our inventories before the year 1 769, when " 1 Mar- 
ble Side Board & Frame " is valued at £2, in the 




FrG. 24 

CARVED OAKEN CHEST OF DRAWERS 

Second half seventeenth century 






CUPBOARDS yi 

inventory of Joshua Winslow, of Boston. Marble 
tables are found in many fine estates, and are some- 
times valued at a high figure ; some of them may 
have been used as sideboards or side tables. 

In 1787, "A. Heppelwhite and Co., Cabinet-Makers," 
of London, published two designs for sideboards with 
a deep drawer at each end, and one long and shallow 
one in the middle. They also published in the same 
year four designs for sideboards without drawers. 
These were really sideboard tables after the style of 
Chippendale. 

In 1 79 1, '92, and '93, Thomas Sheraton, another 
celebrated cabinet-maker of London, published de- 
signs for sideboards with cupboards and drawers un- 
derneath, and in 1794, a plan for a sideboard without 
any drawers or cupboards whatever, simply a side- 
board table. These plates are found in his work 
entitled, "The Cabinet -Maker and Upholsterer's 
Drawing- Book," London, 1794. In his "Cabinet 
Dictionary," published in 1803, besides a cellaret 
sideboard with cupboards and drawers, he again pub- 
lishes a design for an entirely open " Side Board 
Table," and says : " The most fashionable sideboards 
at present are those without cellarets, or any kind of 
drawer, having massy ornamented legs, and moulded 
frames." 

Heppelwhite and Sheraton sideboards made of 
mahogany or cherry, with inlays of lighter colored 



72 CUPBOARDS 

woods, such as holly and satinwood, are quite com- 
mon in New England. 

In Fig. 23 is seen a very good example, made in 
1804, after the style of Heppel white, by Aaron 
Chapin, an excellent cabinet-maker, who settled in 
Hartford from East Windsor about 1783. It is 
made of mahogany with inlays of satinwood. It now 
belongs to the estate of the late Walter Robbins, 
of Rocky Hill, Conn., who was a son of its first 
owner. The original bill is preserved by the family, 
and reads as follows : — 

1804. Mr. Frederic Robbins 

Nov. 22. Bou' of Aaron Chapin 

1 Mahogany fashiornerd 8 leg Sideboord . . . $68.00 
1 Candle Stand 10 / 1.67 



$69.67 
Reed Pay in full for Aaron Chapin 

Laertes Chapin. 

These sideboards came in use here very soon after 
their adoption in England, and remained in fashion 
until about 1820 to 1830, when they were succeeded 
by much inferior and often very clumsy looking 
pieces called lockers. 



CHAPTER III. 

CHESTS OF DRAWERS. 

Chests of drawers are not mentioned in the Eng- 
lish inventories of the sixteenth century published 
by the antiquarian societies to which reference has 
so often been made in these pages. They therefore 
did not come into use in England until some time 
in the first half of the seventeenth century. 

They appear in the New England records as early 
as 1643, in which year one chest of drawers, valued 
at £2 ios., is found in the inventory of John Atwood, 
of Plymouth. Though not numerous in these early 
days they were by no means of rare occurrence, as 
between this date and 1675 we have notes of fifty 
examples from the inventories of Suffolk County, 
Mass., alone. The prices of these are given in 
thirty-six instances. Their aggregate is £76, mak- 
ing an average of a little over £2 2 s. apiece. Three 
of these were valued at £$ each, in 1658, 1665, and 
1670; one at £3 10 s. in 1667 ; three at £4 each, in 
1662, 1669, and 1674; one at £4 10 s. in 1671; and 
one as high as £y, in the estate of Martha Coggan, 
of Boston, inventoried in 1660. It will be seen from 



74 CHESTS OF DRAWERS 

this summary that the chests of drawers of this early 
period were even more valuable than the cupboards, 
which we have just studied. 

Examples of the earlier types which have de- 
scended to us from the seventeenth century are now 
very scarce. Two such are shown in Fig. 24 and 
Fig. 25. The first consists of a frame and two deep 
drawers. It is thirty-two inches high, forty and one 
half inches long, and twenty inches wide. Its front 
and ends are made of oak ; the top and the back 
panels of yellow pine. The entire front is carved. 
It was found a few years since in Essex, Conn., and 
now belongs to the writer. 

The second piece measures the same as the first, 
except that it is five inches longer. It has four 
drawers, but their fronts are divided into eleven 
panels, giving the appearance of as many little 
drawers. It is made of oak. It was lately bought in 
Middlefield, Conn., and is now the property of Mr. 
Walter Hosmer. 

We believe that certain characteristics of the New 
England chests of drawers from the first settlements 
down to the latter part of the century are fairly 
represented in these two pieces ; that is to say, that 
during this period they were of about the size here 
shown, were in most cases made of oak, and, like the 
cotemporary cupboards and chests, were decorated 
with carving, paneling, and applied ornaments. 




Fig. 25 

OAKEN CHEST OF DRAWERS 
Second half seventeenth century 



CHESTS OF BRA WERS 75 

There is, however, hardly enough difference be- 
tween the chests of drawers here shown and the 
carved and paneled chests of the same period to 
account for the marked difference in their valua- 
tion. 

We have seen that the average price of thirty-six 
chests of drawers, taken just as they came, without 
any selection, was about forty-two shillings. The 
highest price for any chest that we have found in 
the inventories of this period is thirty shillings, and 
the average price for the eleven chests with the high- 
est valuations is twenty-five shillings. It is evident 
from these facts that many of the early chests of 
drawers, especially such as were valued above the 
average, were either made of more costly woods 
than the two here illustrated, or that they were fin- 
ished with much more elaboration and detail. 

That the earlier chests of drawers were not made 
high is strongly indicated by two facts : first, that no 
carpets, cloths, or cushions were provided for them ; 
second, that their tops were not used as places of 
safety for valuable objects, such as earthen and glass- 
ware. If they had been high, like the cupboards, 
they doubtless would have been furnished with these 
draperies, and their tops utilized as shelves. This, 
as we shall see, actually took place with later chests 
of drawers when it became the fashion to build them 
higher. As far as we know the chests of drawers 



76 CHESTS OF DRAWERS 

(commodes) made in France during the seventeenth 
century were low, from thirty-three to thirty-four 
inches in hight. 

About the year 1680 we find numerous indica- 
tions in the inventories that chests of drawers had 
begun to take on important changes. Down to this 
time they had been mentioned alone, without any 
accessories. In 1675, a chest of drawers makes its 
appearance with a carpet and cushion. From 1680 
to 1683, looking-glasses, dressing-boxes, tables, and 
cupboard cloths began to be associated with chests 
of drawers and to be apprized with them in the same 
item. Such entries as the following soon became 
very common : " A chest of drawers and a looking- 
glass," 1681. " 1 chest of drawers and dressing box," 
1683. "1 Chest of drawers and table," 1683. "A 
chest of drawers and cupboard cloth belonging to it," 
1683. " A chest of drawers cloth and cushion upon 
it," 1690. 

The significance of these cupboard cloths and 
cushions has been pointed out. The tables which 
from this time were made en stiite with chests of 
drawers, may have had their origin quite as much 
from the tendency to build the latter higher as from 
mere fashion and the desire for more furniture. As 
long as the chest of drawers remained low it could 
itself be used as a dressing-table, but when from its 
increasing hight it was no longer available for this 




Fig. 26 
A CHEST OF DRAWERS 

1680-1700 



CHESTS OF DRAWERS 77 

purpose something else had to be provided. The 
advent of these tables may therefore mark the epoch 
when it became the fashion to build higher chests of 
drawers. 

An example of one of the styles of this period, 
from the collection of Mr. Henry F. Waters, is 
shown in Fig. 26. It was found in Peabody, Mass. 
Its hight is thirty-nine inches, and its length forty- 
two inches. It is made of oak, excepting the drawer 
fronts which are paneled with cedar. Several other 
specimens of this kind are known. 

We have seen in another chapter that chests with 
two drawers underneath, forty to forty-two inches 
high (Figs. 7, 8, and 9), began to be used as early 
as 1690, and probably somewhat earlier. We return 
to these chests to call attention to the fact of their 
close resemblance in size and general appearance to 
the chest of drawers here illustrated. 

It seems altogether likely that the single drawer 
which began to be placed under the parent chest 
toward the middle of the century was a suggestion 
derived from the new piece of furniture called chest 
of drawers, which had lately come in fashion. The 
chest with this addition was partly a chest and partly 
a chest of drawers. Indeed, some of these pieces 
were made to look like chests of drawers by having 
the face of the upper or chest part broken into panels 
resembling drawer fronts. 



78 CHESTS OF DRA WERS 

Later in the century the chest made further depar- 
tures from its original state by adopting the increas- 
ing hight of its fashionable rival and by taking on 
still another drawer. In this form, though strictly 
speaking a chest with drawers, it was in fact a modified 
chest of drawers, and was doubtless so regarded. 
The similarity in construction between it and the 
regulation chest of drawers probably led to some 
confusion in the nomenclature, and we are inclined 
to think that these chests with drawers were some- 
times referred to in the conversation of the day as 
chests of drawers, and sometimes so recorded in the 
inventories. They were very numerous in and about 
Hartford, Conn., where it is quite uncommon to find 
a chest of drawers like the one illustrated in Fig. 
26. 

The chest with three drawers, forty-six inches in 
hight, shown in Fig. 10, belongs to the same hybrid 
class. It is the only example of its kind made of 
oak and carved known to the writer. It was made 
toward the close of the seventeenth century. Old 
chests with two and three drawers underneath, of 
about this hight, cheaply made of cherry or pine, 
are not infrequently met with in New England, and 
were made throughout the eighteenth century. 

In addition to the draperies, tables, and dressing- 
boxes, which began to appear about 1680, we soon 
find mention of chests of drawers made of various 



CHESTS OF DRAWERS 79 

woods, such as cedar, olive, and walnut, also japanned 
and inlaid chests of drawers. At the same time the 
prices advanced from three and four, up to six, eight, 
and ten pounds. In 1 702 we begin to find mention 
of " old fashioned " chests of drawers, and in the fol- 
lowing year, of glass and crockery upon their tops. 
These facts, which are of considerable interest, are 
shown in the following items : — 

" 2 cedar chests of drawers and table, £6 8." — 
Inventory of William Harris, Boston, 1684. 

" 1 fine large chest of drawars, £6." — Inventory 
of Leonard Dowden, Boston, 1686. 

" A chest of drawers, ,£8." — Inventory of James 
Butler, Boston, 1689. 

" One Jappan Case of draws, £10." 

" One Olivewood Case of draws & table, £8." 

" One inlaid Case of draws & looking glass, ^10." 
— Inventory of Captain Andrew Craty, Marblehead, 
Mass., 1695. 

" 1 walnut chest of draws, £4." — Inventory of 
John Tenney, Boston, 1699. 

" 1 old fashion chest of drawers, £1" — Inventory 
of Robert Bronsden, Boston, 1702. 

"A Chist of Drawers, £1 10." 

" To Glass ware & Cupps on the Chist of draws, 
10 s." — Inventory of Captain Richard Sprague, 
Charlestown, 1 703. 

" A mantletree set 7 p s . 6 s, a sett of Glasses on a 



8o CHESTS OF DRA WERS 

Chest of Drawers 9 p? 4 s." — Inventory of Zach- 
ariah Long, Boston, 1 703-4. 

It was during the period of transition that we have 
traced in the last two decades of the seventeenth 
century that chests of drawers mounted upon legs 
were introduced into New England. 

A careful study of all the old chests of drawers of 
all kinds that still exist discloses the fact that those 
mounted upon legs were the immediate successors 
of such as we have hitherto illustrated and described 
in this chapter. No intervening styles are found. 

The next step is to fix the date of the first appear- 
ance of these high chests of drawers. This is ap- 
proximately determined by the facts that have been 
already cited from the inventories, and which cannot 
be satisfactorily explained by the chests of drawers 
which preceded the style now under consideration. 

It is quite possible that cloths and cushions were 
placed upon chests of drawers of intermediate hight, 
— thirty-nine to forty-six inches, — because it is not 
certain that all the cupboards with cloths and cush- 
ions that figure in the old inventories were as high 
as those illustrated in the chapter devoted to cup- 
boards. But in addition to the probability that 
these draperies were reserved for the larger- and finer 
cupboards, we have the very significant fact that the 
fashion of using them upon chests of drawers did 
not spring up till late in the century, during the 



/ 




Fig. 27 
A SIX-LEGGED CHEST OF DRAWERS 



CHESTS OF DRAWERS Si 

period in which we find many other indications of 
the existence of high chests of drawers. 

One of these indications is found in the prices 
given. With a single exception the highest price 
noted for any chest of drawers inventoried before the 
year 1686 is five pounds; but from this date to the 
end of the century they were valued in the invento- 
ries of estates as high as at any time during the next 
fifty years. Indeed, we have seen but three instances 
between 1700 and 1750 in which the valuation of any 
specimen exceeded ten pounds in silver money. 

But though we find chests of drawers with cloths 
and cushions ; chests of drawers with their tables ; 
" fine large chests of drawers ; " chests of drawers 
made of cedar, olive, and walnut woods ; chests of 
drawers japanned and inlaid ; chests of drawers val- 
ued at six, eight, and ten pounds; and reason from 
these facts that they were probably high, like the 
chests of drawers made of the same materials and in- 
ventoried at the same prices in the next century, yet 
satisfactory proof of this conclusion is not obtained 
until the year 1703, when a chest of drawers, with 
glassware and cups on its top, is found in the inven- 
tory of Richard Sprague. The custom of putting 
earthen, glass, and china ware on chests of drawers 
continued from 1703 into the last quarter of the cen- 
tury, and perhaps later, and became so fashionable 
that special contrivances called steps were used for the 
better accommodation and display of these objects. 



82 CHESTS OF DRAWERS 

These chests of drawers must have been high, as 
otherwise the habit of depositing fragile objects upon 
them would not have become so prevalent; and that 
they were made with legs is rendered exceedingly 
probable by the fact already pointed out, that no 
other style of sufficient hight belonging to this period 
has been discovered. 

It may be that some of the earlier high chests of 
drawers were made of oak with paneled fronts, like 
the pieces represented in our last two illustrations, 
but instead of going down to within a few inches 
of the floor, were elevated upon frames with legs. 
Such specimens are found in England. One is illus- 
trated in "The Cabinet Maker and Art Furnisher," 
of London, for September, 1881. Another in the 
" Building News," London, May 23, 1884. 

The high chests of drawers first used in New Eng- 
land were of two kinds, — those made with turned 
legs, usually six in number, united by stretchers 
running all the way around just above the floor; 
and those mounted upon four bandy-shaped legs. 

A very good example of the first variety is shown 
in Fig. 27. Its hight is sixty-four inches. It is 
made of the wood of the plane or sycamore tree. It 
consists of two part's, the upper and the lower or 
table part. These are fitted together just above the 
moulding that projects from the top of the table. 
There are three drawers in the table. The piece 




Fig. 28 
A SIX-LEGGEO CHEST OF DRAWERS 



CHESTS OF DRAWERS 83 

taken as a whole is a composition made up of the 
old-fashioned low chest of drawers raised upon a 
table. It belongs to H. S. Fuller, M. D., of Hart- 
ford, Conn. It was bought a few years since in 
Wethersfield, Conn. 

The second example (Fig. 28) is shown on account 
of its pleasing symmetry and the beauty of its richly 
turned legs. It has a shallow drawer in its cornice. 
It is made of maple. Its hight is sixty-seven inches, 
the increase in this respect being due to the cornice 
drawer. Its brasses are of a pattern somewhat later 
than those on the preceding specimen. It was 
bought a few years since in Lynn, Mass., and now 
belongs to the writer. 

These two pieces are good examples of the six- 
legged chests of drawers found in New England. 
They are, however, not put forward as pieces made 
as early as the latter part of the seventeenth century, 
but only as representatives of a style which began to 
be used at that time in New England. They were 
probably made in the first quarter of the eighteenth 
century. 

Chests of drawers of this style are Dutch and 
Flemish in their origin, and may have been intro- 
duced into New England directly from the Nether- 
lands, as they appear to be very rare in England. 
One can judge how scarce they must be there from 
the facts that well-known English connoisseurs have 



84 CHESTS OF DRAWERS 

not met with an example, and that the upper parts 
of two specimens were illustrated in " The Cabinet 
Maker and Art Furnisher," of London, December 
i, 1887, without the knowledge that their legs were 
missing. 

The peculiarity of the style lies in the construc- 
tion of the lower part or table, which evidently took 
its character from the French knee-hole bureaus 
made during the reigns of Louis XIII. and Louis 
XIV. 

The tables, usually called chamber tables in the in- 
ventories, but sometimes dressing-tables, which were 
made to go with these chests of drawers, appear to 
have had four instead of six legs. They were also a 
size or two smaller than the lower or table part of 
the main piece. One is shown in Fig. 29. It was 
bought from a dealer in Lynn, Mass., and is owned 
by the writer. 

Some of these chests of drawers were furnished 
with five instead of six turned legs, three in front 
and two behind. There is in the Hosmer collection 
the under part of such a piece. From the top of 
the central to the top of each lateral leg in front 
there is an arch, and above them one long drawer 
with drop handles. The upper part of this piece is 
unfortunately missing. 

The fact that ornamental details are seldom men- 
tioned in the ■ inventories has already been pointed 



CHESTS OF DRAWERS 8$ 

out. One would suppose, however, that objects so 
obtrusive as the triple rows of brasses on chests 
of drawers would have proved an exception to this 
rule, especially when they first came in fashion, 
which in this country must have been as early, at 
least, as the first appearance of the high chests of 
drawers. But the first, and indeed the only, chest 
of drawers with brasses that we have noted occurs in 
the inventory of Elisha Webb, of Boston, made in 
1 710. Brasses were probably referred to in the item, 
" 21 doz \ of scutcheons drops and rings, £1. 10. 8.," 
recorded in 1696 in the inventory of John Dyer, a 
Boston merchant. In the inventory of John Ffel- 
lows, joiner, of Philadelphia, Penn., made October 12, 
1694, we find the item, "To a pcell of Brass-work 
for Drawers, £1. 4." 

We show in Fig. 30 a brass handle with its plate, 
and in Fig. 31 a scutcheon, both from a veneered 
six-legged chest of drawers in our possession. They 
are of the same pattern as those seen on the chest 
of drawers shown in Fig. 27, and are not at all un- 
common in New England. 

Drop handles are also found on these old chests 
of drawers, and with their plates vary somewhat in 
different specimens. The handles are of two kinds, 
those cast solid and those hollowed out behind. The 
plates are sometimes circular and sometimes of other 
shapes. Examples of these brasses are seen in Figs. 



86 CHESTS OF DRAWERS 

32, 33, and 34. Fig. 32 has the hollowed handle, the 
other two the solid. 

These brasses, given here in their full size, are be- 
lieved to be Dutch in design, and are of the oldest 
types found in New England. The plates and 
scutcheons were cast very thin, and their surfaces 
stamped with dies. The handles are fastened on 
with looped wires. 

In Fig. 35 is shown a stamped plate with its 
handle of a style later than the preceding, from a 
maple six -legged chest of drawers belonging to 
James Campbell, M. D., of Hartford, Conn. The 
drawers in this instance have overlapping edges. 
This fact coincides with the brasses in indicating 
that this piece is one of the latest of the chests of 
drawers of this style. 

The six-legged chests of drawers found in New 
England are, we believe, invariably furnished with 
the brass mounts now described, and, in most in- 
stances, with those of the older types. Moreover, 
they seem to have been always made with flat tops. 
They, therefore, ceased to be made before these old 
brasses went out of fashion, and before the introduc- 
tion of the arched top. 

Chests of drawers with flat tops, and mounted on 
four bandy-shaped legs, are also of Dutch and Flem- 
ish origin. They appear to have reached this coun- 
try at about the same time as the six-legged variety, 




Fig. 29 
DRESSING-TABLE BELONGING TO A SIX-LEGGED CHEST OF DRAWERS 




Fig. 37 
DRESSING-TABLE BELONGING TO A BANDY-LEGGED CHEST OF DRAWERS 



CHESTS OF DRAWERS 87 

from which they differ in respect to their lower parts 
only. The shape and construction of the upper 
parts, the woods, the veneers, and the brasses, are 
alike in both. Their tables even do not differ ex- 
cept in the number and shape of their legs. 

A very old and quaint example of this style is 
shown in Fig. 36. It came from Windsor, Conn., 
and, with the dressing-table made to accompany it, 
is the property of Mr. Edwin Simons, of Hartford. 
The wood is maple. The legs are boldly cut out, 
and the feet, which are unusually large, show the 
influence of the preceding style. Its decoration is 
of the " flowered " variety, that is, with flowers and 
other objects painted in colors. In this instance 
there are trees and flowers, and figures representing 
hunting and other scenes crudely painted in dull 
yellow on a black ground. Flowered furniture is oc- 
casionally mentioned in the inventories of the early 
part of the eighteenth century. This kind of decora- 
tion was probably suggested by the japanned work 
then in fashion. 

In Fig. 37 is seen a dressing-table with veneered 
front and carved legs. It is one of the finest exam- 
ples of the dressing or chamber table found in New 
England. The original brasses are missing. It was 
bought by the writer in Lebanon, Conn., ten or 
twelve years ago. Its chest of drawers, which, in 
all probability, had a flat top, is lost. 



88 CHESTS OF DRAWERS 

The tops of these four-legged chests of drawers 
seem to have been made flat down to about 1730, 
when pieces surmounted with the interrupted arch 
and " bookcase heads " made their appearance. A 
very good specimen, crowned with the interrupted 
arch, and dated 1737, is in the possession of Mr. 
L. M. Solon, the celebrated pate sur pate artist at 
Stoke T on-Trent, in England. The figures of the date 
are inlaid on the front of the piece above, and are 
undoubtedly genuine. In the inventory of Robert 
Davis, made in Boston in 1739, we find the item, 
" 1 case of Draws & Table bookcase head, £12." 

It is quite possible that chests of drawers with the 
interrupted arch were made before the year 1730, as 
we know that clocks with arched dials appeared in 
the reign of Queen Anne. This question has proved 
a difficult one to settle, but our studies have led us 
to adopt the date 1730 as not far from right. 

That they were later than the four and six-legged 
chests of drawers hitherto considered is shown by 
the absence in their construction of the details that 
mark these older pieces. These details are very char- 
acteristic, and consist of the older stamped brasses of 
small size with handles, or drops, held in place by 
looped wires, the double-beaded mouldings around 
the drawers, and the thin strip fastened with wrought 
iron nails to the under edges of the table, forming 
by its projection a delicate bead or moulding very 



CHESTS OF DRAWERS 89 

pleasing to the eye. Of these features, the typical 
brasses have been wanting in every arched top chest 
of drawers that we have seen, the nearest approach 
to them being stamped brasses of larger size, with 
turned handles similar to those shown in Fig. 35. 
The two kinds of mouldings referred to, when seen 
at all on these arched top pieces, occur on the older 
specimens, and then rarely together on the same 
piece. These facts are well brought out by the 
beautiful chest of drawers shown in Fig. 38. Its 
brasses are of the stamped variety, but of large size. 
The delicate moulding on the under edge of the 
table is present, but the drawers are finished with 
overlapping edges, instead of being surrounded by 
the double mouldings above described. This piece 
is richly japanned, and with its dressing-table and 
dressing-box, shown in Fig. 39, belonged to the late 
Dr. George B. Loring, of Salem, Mass. It was 
made in England, or Holland, and dates from about 
the year 1735. In England a chest of drawers of 
this kind is sometimes called a fall-boy, in this coun- 
try sometimes a tall-boy, but oftener a high-boy. 

Chests of drawers of this general style, with bandy 
legs, with flat as well as arched tops, and with dress- 
ing-tables to match, were the ones most in vogue in 
New England from about 1 730 till toward the close 
of the century. A few of the earlier pieces were 
either japanned or veneered, but most specimens 



90 CHESTS OF DRAWERS 

will be found plain and without the two kinds of 
mouldings referred to, with plain instead of stamped 
brasses, and with handles terminating in bolt heads, 
instead of being secured with looped wires. After 
the middle of the century the brasses became larger 
and more showy, and the legs sometimes terminated 
in ball and claw feet. 

In some instances, instead of the bandy-legged 
table below, the lower part of both the flat and the 
round top varieties is made up of drawers, which go 
down nearly to the floor. They must have been rare 
in this country before the middle of the eighteenth 
century, if we may judge from the great scarcity of 
old specimens. It is not at all uncommon to find 
such pieces made after the middle of the century. 

In England these double chests of drawers, as they 
were called, were sometimes made with one of the 
drawer fronts to let down at a suitable hight for 
writing. Watson, in his " Annals," says that chests 
of drawers with a writing-desk at the center were 
in use in Philadelphia and New York before the 
Revolution. We have not seen these combinations 
in New England, but the following extracts leave 
little doubt that such or similar specimens were in 
use here : — 

" A Japan'd chest drawers Cabinet in one. A 
Looking Glass and table varnished with red, ^50." 
— Inventory of Henry Guineau, Boston, 1 730. 






OLD BRASSES 
Close of seventeenth and beginning of eighteenth century 



CHESTS OF DRAWERS 9 1 

" A writen Daske or chest of Drawers, £2. 13. 4." 
— Inventory of James Orr, Boston, 1752. 

A very beautiful double chest of drawers, with 
shaped front and with ball and claw feet, is shown in 
Fig. 40. It is made of cherry. It is the property 
of Mrs. Thomas G. Talcott, of Hartford, Conn. 

We know from records, as well as from an oc- 
casional specimen, that low chests of drawers did 
not become wholly extinct during the supremacy of 
those mounted on legs. The item, " 1 Low Case 
of Draws, 18 s.," is found in 171 7 in the inventory 
of William Howel, a cabinet-maker of Boston. Be- 
tween this date and 1756 we find in our notes men- 
tion of three other low cases of drawers, and of four 
low chests of drawers, a goodly number, if we take 
into account the infrequency with which such de- 
scriptive terms as high and low are used in the in- 
ventories. Low cases of drawers are also mentioned 
in the schedule of prices adopted by the joiners of 
Providence, R. I., in 1756, and published in the Ap- 
pendix of this work. Among the finer examples of 
the low chests of drawers found in New England 
may be mentioned those with richly mottled veneers, 
and with the old stamped brasses. The writer has 
seen three such specimens, made in the first half of 
the eighteenth century. They had bracket feet, and 
were from thirty-three to thirty-five inches in hight. 

As already indicated, it is probable that most of 



92 CHESTS OF DRAWERS 

the chests of drawers in use in New England down 
to the latter part of the seventeenth century were 
made of oak. During this period oak was the wood 
most in use for furniture in England, where, accord- 
ing to Pollen, the marquetry so extensively employed 
on the Continent did not become a fashion until the 
reign of William and Mary. 

It is difficult to understand why the valuation of 
oaken chests of drawers should have exceeded so 
greatly that of the oaken chests of the same period. 
The amount of material in each was about the same, 
and the extra labor in making the drawers could 
hardly explain the difference in the prices. It is, 
therefore, not at all unlikely, as we have before 
pointed out, that some of the higher priced pieces 
were made of other woods, and with more costly 
decoration than is seen on the first two illustrated 
in this chapter. 

Chests of drawers had been in use in Italy, France, 
Spain, and Portugal for some time before they were 
introduced into England. They therefore received 
the impress of the art of these countries, and their 
decoration doubtless followed that of the chests and 
cabinets of the day. Indeed, they were, so to speak, 
a cross between these two pieces, better than the 
chest, but not as good as the cabinet. 

Very good examples of early French chests of 
drawers, before the time of Boule, finished in mar- 






Fig. 34 F|G . 32 

OLD BRASSES 
Close of Seventeenth and beginning of eighteenth century 



CHESTS OF DRA WERS 93 

quetry of colored woods, are to be seen in the South 
Kensington Museum and in the Musee du Mobilier 
National, in Paris. Two of the latter are illustrated 
(Plate No. VI., Deux Commodes, Genre Hollandais) 
in " Les Meubles D'Art Du Mobilier National," by 
E. Williamson, Paris, 1883-85. 

When the chest of drawers reached England it 
was probably made of oak, and plainer than on the 
Continent, but doubtless its front retained more or 
less of the decoration which it had been in the habit 
of receiving in other countries. In this condition it 
was brought to the American colonies, and finding 
its way into the inventories has left proof that it was 
a piece on which more than ordinary care was be- 
stowed. 

We have noticed the two cedar chests of drawers 
in the estate of William Harris, of Boston, in 1684. 
Cedar was used to some extent for furniture, proba- 
bly in most instances, like cypress, to keep away 
moths. Three cedar chests are mentioned in the in- 
ventory of Captain Samuel Scarlet, of Boston, made 
in 1675. That it was also used for its color and 
grain is indicated by the fact that " a rownd cedor 
table " was inventoried in 1676, in the estate of Oba- 
diah Walker, of Boston. 

The earliest mention of olivewood noted in our 
records is in the item, " 1 Looking glass small Olive 
frame," in the inventory of Thomas Thacher, made 



94 CHESTS OF DRA VVERS 

in Boston in 1686. Comparatively few pieces of 
olivewood furniture are found in the New England 
inventories. 

The japanned case of drawers in the inventory of 
Captain Andrew Craty, made in 1695, is the first 
mention of japanned furniture that we have found 
in New England. In the advertisement of Tho. Hul- 
beart, " at the Ship and Anchor over-against Gun- 
Yard in Hounsditch, London," contained in the 
"London Gazette," January 16-20, 1689, "Several 
sorts of Screwtores, Tables, Stands, and Looking- 
Glasses of Japan and other work," are mentioned. 
In the same journal, April 14-17, 1690, he advertises 
" Chests of drawers, Tables, Stands, and Looking- 
Glasses of right East-India Japan, and other work." 

This is the first record of japanned furniture 
found in a rather rapid look through the files of 
several of the old London newspapers. But from 
the objects mentioned, as well as from the fact that 
the textiles, porcelains, and lacquered wares of the 
Orient had, in large quantities, been regularly im- 
ported into Holland all through the seventeenth cen- 
tury, it is probable that japanned furniture had been 
in use in London for some time previous to this date. 
The words " Japan Cabinets, Indian and English," 
found in the advertisement of John Gumley, in the 
"London Gazette," March 1 to March 5, 1693, will 
be accepted as proof that japanning was then prac- 



CHESTS OF DRA WERS 95 

ticed in England. Havard has shown in his admira- 
ble work, the " Dictionnaire de L'Ameublement," 
that lacquered furniture was manufactured in Paris 
as early as 1691. 

The final sentence in the following advertisement 
shows that japanning was done in Boston in 171 2, 
three years earlier than by William Randle, whose 
advertisement is given in full in the chapter on cup- 
boards : — 

" There is lately come from England an Engine, which grinds 
Cocholat very well. If any Person would have Cochoa ground, 
or Chocholat ready made, they may be accommodated on rea- 
sonable and moderate Termes by Mr. Nehemiah Partridge, at 
Mistress Pordage's in Treamount Street, Boston near the Orange 
Tree, where all Sorts of Japan Work are also done by him." — 
Boston News-Letter, March 31 to April 7, 17 12. 

Japanned chests of drawers were fashionable and 
comparatively numerous in Boston down to 1730-35, 
after which they were found in the inventories less 
and less frequently till about 1775. It is probable 
that most of the pieces that figure in the probate 
records after 1 750 were old specimens. At the pres- 
ent time they are so scarce in New England as 
seldom to be seen. It is not at all improbable that 
many of these old pieces exist to-day in plain wood, 
their japanning having been scraped off as it be- 
came unfashionable or out of repair. 

The wood of which much of the best furniture in 



g6 CHESTS OF DRAWERS 

and about Boston was made in the eighteenth cen- 
tury was the^ American black walnut, the yuglans 
nigra of Linnaeus. The rich color and grain of this 
wood early attracted the attention of cabinet-makers. 
We find furniture made of it as early as 1668, in 
which year " one box of black walnettree " is men- 
tioned in the inventory of John Eliot, Junior, of Cam- 
bridge. In 1676 "a square table of Black Wallnutt" 
is valued at £1 5 s., in the inventory of Obadiah 
Walker, of Boston, and in 1680, "one black walnut 
table " at 30 s., in the inventory of Samuel Winslow, 
of Boston. After 1.700 it was very extensively used 
for all kinds of furniture. 

Black walnut chests of drawers are frequently 
found in the Boston inventories from the beginning 
of the century down to about 1760. The drawer 
fronts of many of these pieces were finished with 
walnut veneer of richer grain, derived from the burr 
of the tree. After 1760 black walnut chests of 
drawers, like all other kinds, are mentioned much 
less often, but this can be partly explained by the 
fact that fewer descriptive terms were used in the 
inventories of these clays than formerly. 

The celebrated London cabinet - maker, Thomas 
Sheraton, tells us in his " Cabinet Dictionary," pub- 
lished in London in 1803, that there are three species 
of the walnut tree, " the English walnut, and the 
white and black Virginia. Hickery is reckoned to 




Fig. 36 
A BANDY-LEGGED CHEST OF DRAWERS 



CHESTS OF DRAWERS 97 

class with the white Virginia walnut. The black Vir- 
ginia was much in use for cabinet work about forty 
or fifty years since in England, but is now quite laid 
aside since the introduction of mahogany." 

It was used in England for furniture considerably 
earlier than Sheraton supposed, as we find "Virginia t 
wallnut-tree Chairs " mentioned in an advertisement 
in "The Daily Post," of London, August 30, 1731. 
"Virginia Wallnut-tree, and Mahogony in the plank" 
were advertised in " The London Evening Post," 
June 21-23, ^S ' an d "a Virginia Wallnut-tree Tea 
Chest with a drawer," in " The Public Advertiser," of 
London, August i, 1757. 

As reference has been made to veneered chests of 
drawers, it may be of interest to note that the first 
mention of veneer that we have found in our records 
occurs in the inventory, before cited, of William 
Howel, made in 171 7. We here find the items, " To 
Walnut Fenere, £8. 18. 7," and " 1 Fenereing Ham- 
mer & Pinchers." These items, besides showing the 
use of veneer at this time, tend to show that William 
Howel, by trade a cabinet-maker, had not only made 
veneered furniture, but, from the amount of veneer 
on hand, that this with him was not altogether a new 
art. Moreover, as " 1 2 pillers for a chest of drawers," 
and "drups & Scutcheons " to the value of £2. 5. 10, 
are also found among his effects, it is reasonably cer- 
tain that chests of drawers were among his produc- 



98 CHESTS OF DRAWERS 

tions, and that his walnut veneer was designed to 
enrich the fronts of such pieces. 

Walnut was undoubtedly the veneer most in use 
in New England in these early days. It is the only 
veneer that we have seen in the inventories, and 
is the one oftenest found upon furniture which has 
come down to us from the first half of the eighteenth 
century. Other veneers, however, are occasionally 
met with, especially upon the older and finer pieces. 
It is sometimes quite difficult for the most competent 
judges to agree upon the woods of these veneers. 

The first mahogany chest of drawers that we have 
noted in the New England records occurs in the in- 
ventory of Thomas Dickinson, made in Boston in 
1 748. But as mahogany furniture had been in use 
in Boston since 1732, it is of course quite possible 
that mahogany chests of drawers began to be made 
there considerably earlier than the year 1 748. They 
are not frequently mentioned in the inventories, and 
existing specimens are comparatively scarce. The 
most that are found to - day are double chests of 
drawers, sometimes with shaped fronts and arched 
tops, as in the specimen shown in Fig. 40. 

It is believed that mahogany began to be used for 
furniture in London about the year 1720. The his- 
tory of its introduction there is told by Mr. Robinson 
in " The Art Journal," May, 1881, as follows: — 

" Its introduction was somewhat curious, mahogany being first 




Fig. 38 

JAPANNED CHEST OF DRAWERS 

About 1735 



CHESTS OF DRAWERS 99 

sought for as a medicinal substitute for the 'Jesuit's bark,' and 
many treatises on its therapeutic virtues were written. About 
the year 1720 some planks of it were brought to Dr. Gibbon by 
his brother, a West Indian captain, and the doctor, thus having 
more than he would be likely to want for medicine, proposed 
having some of these planks used in a house he was then build- 
ing in King Street, Covent Garden. The carpenters, however, 
found the wood too hard, and the planks were laid aside as use- 
less. Soon afterwards Mrs. Gibbon wanted a candle-box, — an 
article of household furniture now extinct, — and Dr. Gibbon 
called in his cabinet-maker, one Mr. Wollaston, to a consultation. 
The planks were examined in the garden where they had lain 
some time, and he too declared he could make nothing of them, 
as the wood was too hard for his tools. ' Get stronger tools, 
then,' said the doctor, who fortunately was an obstinate man, 
and the result was a beautiful candle-box, the like of which had 
never before been seen. Indeed, so beautiful was it that the 
doctor immediately ordered a bureau made from the new dis- 
covery, and invited his friends to come and see the wonder. All 
fashionable London came, and the Duchess of Buckingham 
begged some of the wood which was left : of it she made at 
once both furniture and a fashion, and thus mahogany became 
duly installed in the English home." 

One of the items in the following advertisement, 
from the " Daily Courant," of London, December 3, 
1724, tends to confirm the story of the rapid progress 
made by mahogany as a new wood in furniture: — 

"To be Sold by Auction, On Thursday the 10th Instant, the 
Shop Goods of John Cracherode, at the Tea-Table in Henrietta- 
Street, Covent - Garden, being all new, and consisting of Peer- 
Glasses, Chimney -Glasses, and Sconces, Indian Skreens and 



IOO CHESTS OF DRAWERS 

Chests, Tea-Tables, Hand-Boards, Bottle-Stands, Burows, Tables 
of s'everal Sorts both Wallnut-tree and Mahogany, Lanthorns for 
Halls and Stair-Cases, with all other sorts of Cabinet-Maker's 
Goods." 

Mahogany furniture is mentioned in American in- 
ventories somewhat earlier than the date given for 
the manufacture of Dr. Gibbon's candle-box, as may- 
be seen from the following extracts : — 

" i broaken Mahogony Skreen, 2 s." — Inventory 
of John Jones, of Philadelphia, merchant, taken 8th, 
9th, and 10th of June, 1708. 

"2 Mohogany Planks 36A feet at i6d., ,£2.8.8. 
3 Inch board Ditto 48 feet at 6 6.., £1. 4." — Inven- 
tory of Charles Plumley, of Philadelphia, " Joyner," 
taken December 15, 1708. 

" 1 Mehogeney Chest of Drawres, £4." — Inven- 
tory of Bartholomew Penrose, of Philadelphia, ship- 
wright, taken November 10, 171 2. 

" Feather bed bolster pillow Sheets 3 blanketts 2 
Coverlids Curtains rods & mohogany bed stead, £6. 
5. o." — Inventory of Thomas Coates, of Philadel- 
phia, merchant, taken October 3, 17 19. 

" In the best Parlour, Mohogany Chest Drawers 
and Table, £y. 10. 6 foot Table ditto, £5. 4 foot 
ditto, £2. 5." 

" Front Parlour, 5 foot Mohogany Table, £4. 4 
foot Ditto, £2. 5. Mohogany Clothes press, £5." 

" Front Chamber, Mohogany Table & Chest 
Drawers, £7. 10." 



CHESTS OF DRAWERS IOI 

" Best Chamber, Mohogany Chest Drawers and 
Table, £y. 10." 

" Chamber Over Upper Kitchin, Mohogany Chest 
Drawers and Table, £5. 10." 

" Red Room, Mohogany Chest Drawers and Table, 
£4. 10." 

" Stair head, Mohogany Clothes press, £5." 

" Upper kitchin, Mohogany Oval Table ab' 4 ft. 
£2. Ditto ab' 3 foot, £ 1. 7. 6." 

" Shop or Ware house, Mohogany Oval Table, 
£1. 10." 

" Lower Stores," besides a quantity of " hewed 
Staves," " Cedar posts," " Cedar Scantling," and other 
lumber, there were " 1 1 Mohogany planks Each 1 1 
foot long 5 Inch thick and 2 foot wide," valued at 
£2^. 4. — Inventory of Jonathan Dickinson, of Phila- 
delphia, merchant, taken May 20, 1722. 

The original inventories from which these extracts 
are taken are preserved in the office of the Register 
of Wills in Philadelphia, Penn. 

Mahogany furniture was therefore in use in Phila- 
delphia as early as the year 1 708, and from the fact 
that mahogany lumber was found among the stock 
of a joiner in 1708, and that a mahogany screen was 
part of the household furniture of a person who had 
died in that year, it is probable that mahogany furni- 
ture had been made in Philadelphia somewhat before 
the year 1 708. 



102 CHESTS OF DRAWERS 

The fashion of displaying glass, earthen, and china 
wares from the heads of chests of drawers has already 
been touched upon. These articles were usually 
placed directly upon the flat tops of the chests of 
drawers, but sometimes upon steps provided for their 
reception. In addition to the two items previously 
given, the following extracts have been selected from 
a great many, and embrace most of the information 
relating to this subject to be gleaned from the inven- 
tories : — 

" A Chest of Drawers, table & looking glass, 
Earthen ware on y e Chest of Drawers." — Inventory 
of John Wharton, Boston, 171 2-1 3. 

" 1 Japan Chest Drawers & Steps for China & 
dressing table, ^14." — Inventory of Thomas Fair- 
weather, Boston, 1734. 

" 1 Chest of Drawers, £y." 

" Chani Earthen & Glass Ware on Do, £1. 5." — 
Inventory of John Foster, Boston, 1735. 

" 1 Steps for China Ware, 2 s." — Inventory of 
Abraham Blish, Boston, 1735. 

" 1 black walnut Draws & Table, ,£16." 

" 55 peices small coarse China on ye Draws, £5. 
10." — Inventory of Captain John Welland, Boston, 

*737- 

" 1 Chest Drawers & Table, £17." 

" A Parcel of Glass & China Ware on Chest 
Drawers, £$." — Inventory of Samuel Greenwood, 
Boston, 1742. 




THE CHAMBER TABLE AND DRESSiNG BOX BELONGING TO 38 



CHESTS OF DRAWERS ioj 

" i Japan'd Chest of Drawers & Table, £y. 6. 8." 

" A parcell of China Bowls on ye Chest of Drawers, 
^■3." — Inventory of Rev. William Welsteed, Bos- 
ton, 1753. 

"Case of draws Veneered, £2. 13. 4." 

" The steps & some small China thereon, all 5 s. 
4d." — Inventory of John Proctor, Boston, 1756. 

It is probable from the phraseology of the inven- 
tories that the fictile wares placed on chests of 
drawers were those designed for household use 
rather than for the special decoration of these pieces. 
It may be, however, that sets for chests of drawers 
were made and used the same as for manteltrees. 
The item already quoted from the inventory of 
Zachariah Long possibly refers to such a set. So 
may the following, from the inventory of Captain 
Thomas Thacher, made in Boston in 1723: — 

" 1 Japand Chest Drawers, £4." 

"Furniture for Chest Drawers, 10 s." 

" Furniture for mantel pe, 6 s." 

The earliest mention of steps noted in the New 
England records occurs in 1733, in the inventory of 
John Jekyll, of Boston. As these objects were of 
the simplest construction and had no other value 
than as appendages to chests of drawers, and have 
been out of fashion for about a century, it is proba- 
ble that existing specimens are very scarce, and that 
knowledge of their former use has for the most part 
been lost. 



104 CHESTS OF DRAWERS 

Through the kindness of Mrs. Thomas G. Talcott 
we are able to present in Fig. 41 a veritable speci- 
men that has descended in her family. It is cheaply 
made of soft pine boards from one half to three 
quarters of an inch in thickness, nailed together, and 
stained a chocolate brown. It has three stao-es, each 
about four and a half inches in higfht. The lower 
stage has a front of twenty-eight inches, and a depth 
of fifteen and a half inches. The second and third 
stages are made to recede so as to leave steps in 
front and on each side about four and a half inches 
in depth. They also run back as far as the first 
stage, and all are left open behind. 

To complete the historical picture, this piece, with 
china on its steps, is shown in Fig. 42 on the chest 
of drawers, also in possession of Mrs. Talcott, to 
which it originally belonged. 

Mr. George R. Curwen, of Salem, Mass., has de- 
scribed to the writer a piece of furniture almost 
identical with the one here illustrated, which he had 
seen in Salem about fifty years ago, and which he 
remembers very distinctly. He was then told that 
such pieces were made to go upon the tops of chests 
of drawers, and that they were called steps. 

As a rule they seem to have been movable pieces 
that could be put on or taken off the chest of 
drawers at pleasure. This was, however, not always 
the case. We have seen at least two chests of 




Fig. 40 
A DOUBLE CHEST OF DRAWERS 



CHESTS OF DRAWERS 105 

draAvers with stationary steps upon them. One of 
these is now in our possession. In this connection 
it is also noteworthy in respect to its hight. It is 
reasonably certain, as we have hitherto assumed, that 
steps were intended for high chests of drawers. But 
in this instance the top upon which the steps are 
fastened is but forty-nine inches from the floor. The 
use of steps upon pieces of this hight was, we be- 
lieve, altogether exceptional. 

The steps on this chest of drawers have but two 
stages, in each of which there is a drawer. The 
fronts of these drawers are on the line with those of 
the drawers below, so that the steps have gradations 
on their sides only. The drawer fronts are made of 
maple, the ends of the piece of whitewood. The 
feet are turned, and are very large and globular in 
shape. The brasses are of the older stamped variety, 
but the drawers have the overlapping edges. The 
piece was made in the third decade of the eighteenth 
century. 

During the seventeenth century the article of 
furniture which is the subject of this chapter was 
usually written chest of drawers in the New England 
inventories, the expression case of drawers being but 
seldom seen. In the next century we meet with 
cases of drawers in the records much oftener than 
before, though chest of drawers continued to be the 
standard name. Felt, in " The Customs of New 



106 CHESTS OF DRAWERS 

England," Boston, 1853, supposes that there was a 
difference between chests and cases of drawers ; that 
the former had flat, and the latter shaped or rounded 
tops. It must be admitted that there are grounds 
for this belief, such as the more frequent use of the 
expression case of drawers, which we find in the 
records toward the middle of the eighteenth century, 
at the time when it is supposed that the round tops 
made their appearance. Another fact of similar 
import is the occurrence in several instances of 
chests of drawers and cases of drawers in the same 
inventory, as though the apprizers intended thereby 
to express a difference. In a few of these instances 
the cases of drawers are valued much the higher, 
which again would seem to point to the more fash- 
ionable and expensive pieces with wrought tops. 

There are, however, two or three historical facts 
opposed to this view. The expression case of drawers 
is found in our records as early as 1654, long before 
the arched tops made their appearance. Moreover, 
glass and earthenware and steps are frequently found 
upon their tops, which must, therefore, have been 
flat, as in the following instances : — 

" 1 black Walnut Case of Drawers & Table, £j." 

" A parcel Glass Ware on ye Case of Drawers, 
£1. 10." — Inventory of William Welsteed, Boston, 
1729. 

" Sundry Sorts of flint Glass ware upon the man- 



CHESTS OF DRAWERS 107 

tie peice & Case of draws, £\. 10." — Inventory of 
Captain Edward Cruft, Boston, 1735. 

" Case of Drawrs, £$. 10. Chaney glass and 
Earthen ware on it, £4. 10." — Inventory of Jacob 
Williams, Roxbury, 1736. 

" 1 Case draws & table theirto, ^15." 

" Other Glass & Earthen on ye Case draws, 1 5 s." 
— Inventory of Sampson Mason, Boston, 1738. 

" Case o' Drawers & Table, £io." 

" A parcel of Glass on ye Case o' Draws, £4." — 
Inventory of Josiah Langdon, Boston, 1 743. 

" 1 Case of Draws Steps & Table, £10." — Inven- 
tory of Captain William Warner, Boston, 1 746. 

" 1 Case Draws & Chamber Table & glass on s d 
Draws, £2,. 5." — Inventory of William Beers, Bos- 
ton, 1760. 

Low cases of drawers are sometimes mentioned in 
the same inventory with high cases of drawers. 
Now the low cases of drawers always had flat tops. 

From all these facts it is very probable that chest 
of drawers and case of drawers were terms that were 
used interchangeably. 

Chests of drawers continued in use down to the 
close of the eighteenth century. In 1794 we find 
the following items in the inventory of Elisha Wol- 
cott, of Wethersfield, Conn. : — 

"1 high Case of Draws, 25 s., 1 low Ditto, 15 s., 
I Dressing Table, 5 s." 



108 CHESTS OF DRAWERS 

The writer has lately seen a chest of drawers made 
in the year 1S00, in Wethersfield, Conn., by Edward 
Shepard. The wood is cherry. The drawers go 
nearly to the floor, and rest upon bracket feet. The 
top is flat, but at its front is surmounted by a pedi- 
ment made up of a scroll and fret on each side of 
a central urn-like ornament. The scutcheons are 
small and elliptical in shape. The handles are large, 
and are each furnished with two small discs through 
which the bolts are passed to be secured on the in- 
side of the drawer. The hight of this piece to the 
top of its pediment is somewhat over seven feet. 

Heppelwhite in 1787 published designs for high 
chests of drawers reaching to the floor, but g;ave 
none mounted upon legs. We find no mention of 
chests of drawers in Sheraton's work, published in 
1793, which shows how completely they had gone 
out of fashion in England at that time. 

The dressing-tables and dressing-drawers or bu- 
reaus that began to appear in New England soon 
after the revolutionary war were chiefly made after 
the designs of Heppelwhite. They appear to have 
immediately followed the old-fashioned chests of 
drawers and dressing-tables which have been the 
subject of this chapter. 




Fig. 41 
STEPS FOR TOP OF CHEST OF DRAWERS 



CHAPTER IV. 

DESKS. 

The desk in some form was probably coeval with 
the art of writing with pen and ink. They are found 
in Greek and Latin manuscripts as early as the ninth 
century. Examples of writing and reading desks 
from the ninth to the fifteenth century have been 
published by Viollet-le-Duc, Willemin, Strutt, Shaw, 
and others. Some of these were mounted on feet, 
others were made small and portable so as to be car- 
ried about and used on the lap of the writer. 

The word desk appears in the " Court of Love " 
formerly attributed to Chaucer. It is also found in 
the first English-Latin dictionary, the " Promptorium 
Parvulorum," written about 1440. Its etymology is 
the same as that of dais, dish, and the German word 
tisck, which seems to show that the primitive idea to 
be expressed was that of a raised plane or table. 

English lexicographers have from early times ac- 
corded to this word two rather distinct meanings. 
One, a piece of furniture used for reading, — a read- 
ing desk, a lecturn, or pulpit. The other, a piece 
used rather to write on, or to inclose books and 



110 DESKS 

papers. It is mainly desks of the second kind that 
we shall here consider. 

The desks found in the New England inventories, 
from those first noted in 1644 down to 1669, range 
in price from one up to twenty shillings, the average, 
carefully ascertained, being about six shillings. Most 
of the descriptive details relating to these desks that 
one is able to gather from the probate records are 
included in the following extracts : — 

" 1 little desk, 1 s." , " 1 desk, 1 s." — Inventory of 
William Brewster, Plymouth, 1644. 

" In the great Chamber, His Deske, £1." — Inven- 
tory of William Clark, Salem, 1647. 

"1 desck box, 3 s." — Inventory of Robert Day, 
Hartford, 1648. 

" In the Study, 1 Greene desk for a woman, 6 s." 
— Inventory of Major-General Edward Gibbons, Bos- 
ton, 1654. 

" 1 covered deske, 10 s." " For the deske & Stand- 
ish, 14 s." — Inventory of Nathaniel Souther, notary, 
Boston, 1655. 

" In the hall, A standing deske standish & Box, 
£1 5 s." — Inventory of John Brackett, merchant, 
Boston, 1666-67. 

These early pieces no doubt differed from each 
other in shape and size to a considerable extent. 
The greater number, however, were probably boxes, 
either plain or carved, with sloping lids, and, not hav- 









gplp§|fes» 



Fig. 44 

CARVED OAKEN DESK 

About 1650 




Fig. 43 
CARVED DESK 

Dated 1654 



DESKS 1 1 1 

ing legs, were brought to the proper hight for use 
by being placed on some other object, as a table or 
chest. This is the traditional conception of these old 
desks. It is also consistent with the definitions of 
the word found in the dictionaries of the early part 
of the seventeenth century, and is further sustained 
by the presence among us to-day of actual specimens 
which have come down from these early times. 

One of these from the Waters collection is shown 
in Fig. 43. It is twenty inches in length by thirteen 
and a half in width. Its hight behind is thirteen 
and a half, in front six and a half inches, making 
the lid altogether too steep to be used for writing. 
It is made of a wood resembling butternut. In the 
inside, at the back, are supports for a narrow shelf 
that had run from end to end. Its front is carved, 
and bears the date 1654, and the initials A. W. It 
was bought in Danvers, Mass. A much smaller 
desk in the same collection is made entirely of oak 
and carved with acanthus leaves. Its lid is not so 
sharply inclined as in the one here illustrated, and 
there is a little till running along its back on the 
inside. 

A very beautiful carved oaken desk box belong- 
ing to Mr. Henry W. Erving, of Hartford, Conn., 
is shown in Fig. 44. Its dimensions are : length, 
seventeen and a quarter inches ; width, ten and a 
quarter inches ; hight behind, eight and a quarter 



1 1 2 DESKS 

inches, in front, six and an eighth inches. On the 
inside, at the back, is a shelf three and a quarter 
inches wide, running lengthwise. The top, including 
the lid, and the bottom are restorations, the wood of 
the original top and bottom being too much decayed 
to admit of repair. The parts restored have been 
copied from the original design with the greatest 
care. The carving is very good, and the oak un- 
doubtedly European. This piece was picked up a 
few years ago in the town of Essex, Conn. 

The habit of covering desks with cloth is very old. 
Strutt, in his " Dresses and Habits of England," has 
reproduced from a manuscript of the twelfth century 
a reading desk with drapery thrown over it. In the 
inventory, made in February, 1534-35, of the effects 
remaining at Baynard's Castle of Katharine of Ar- 
ragon, published by the Camden Society, we find the 
item, " a deske covered withe blacke velvette, and 
garnysshid withe gilte nayles," and Antipholus of 
Ephesus, in the " Comedy of Errors," being in urgent 
need of money, dispatches his servant to Adriana, his 
wife, commanding him to 

"Give her this key, and tell her, in the desk 
That 's cover'd o'er with Turkish tapestry 
There is a purse of ducats ; let her send it." 

The writing table in France ibureati) derived its 
name even from the woolen cloth which had long 
been in use to cover its top. 



DESK'S 1 1 3 

With these facts in view it is easy to see that the 
" covered deske," which we have cited from the in- 
ventory of Nathaniel Souther, and the " greene desk 
for a woman," — probably covered with green cloth, 
— from the inventory of Edward Gibbons, were desks 
treated according to a custom that had been in exist- 
ence for many centuries, and which to-day is perhaps 
more widespread than ever. 

There is much uncertainty as to the type of the 
"standing deske," mentioned in the inventory of 
John Brackett. It was probably a mounted desk, 
but at what hight, and whether on an open frame, 
or inclosed below, are questions difficult to decide. 

Desks inclosed from the table nearly to the floor 
reach back to very early times. One is shown in 
the view of a Norman school, given by Wright in 
his " Homes of Other Days " (cut No. 89), from a 
manuscript of the early part of the twelfth century. 
Viollet-le-Duc has illustrated a very interesting ex- 
ample belonging to the thirteenth century (Lutrin, 
Fig. 7). In the frontispiece of " Cicero's Tusculan 
Questions," printed in Venice in 15 10, five desks are 
seen with writers seated at them. Two of these, at 
least, have sloping tables, and all are inclosed at their 
ends and backs. 

There are, however, two very good reasons for sup- 
posing that the desk in question was one mounted 
on an open frame made to hold it. First, this seems 



114 DESKS 

to be the most natural and probable meaning of the 
word standing as here used. Second, desks with 
frames were then in use, as the following: extracts 
from the inventory of William Whittingham, mer- 
chant, made in Boston in 1672, will show: — 

" In the parlor Chamber, 2 Standers & a desk w th 
a fframe, £1. 8." 

" In the porch Chamber, 1 desk & fframe, 10 s." 

We show in Fig. 45 an oaken box enriched with 
carving and applied ornaments, and dated 1668. It 
is thirty inches long, twenty-four and a half wide, 
and ten and a half high. It is of European oak, and 
belongs to the Hosmer collection. 

Whether these boxes with flat lids were called 
desks in the seventeenth century is an interesting 
question. If so, they were desks mainly in the sense 
of receptacles for books and papers ; for while it was 
possible to write on them when brought to the proper 
hight, it would have been more convenient to use 
the top of any ordinary table for this purpose. 

The use of the word scob at Winchester College 
in England, to designate the boxes with flat lids used 
there as desks, is a fact opposed to the idea that such 
pieces were called desks in the seventeenth and eight- 
eenth centuries. If, as is supposed, this nickname 
arose from spelling the word box (bocs) backward, it 
would tend to show that these pieces had previously 
been called boxes instead of desks. 








Fig. 46 

CARVED BOX WITH DRAWER 




Fig. 45 

CARVED OAKEN BOX 

Dated i6ee 



DESKS 1 1 5 

That some desks were made solely to inclose books 
and papers is apparent from the following facts : — 

Barrett's "Alvearie," London, 1580, gives "a deske 
to write upon, or to keepe bookes in." In the inven- 
tory of Henry Brickwell, made in 1589-90, and pub- 
lished by the Surtees Society, " ii desks for books " 
are mentioned. In the English-Latin part of Little- 
ton's Dictionary, published in London in 1684, the 
difference between a desk for books and one for 
writing is thus recognized : — 

" A Desk for Books. Pluteus". 

"A Desk to write on. Abacus, scrinium scrip- 
torium." 

The fact that the Waters desk, shown in Fig. 43, 
could not have been used for writing on, owin°" to 
the steepness of its lid, renders it highly probable 
that it and similar pieces were made, not to write on, 
but only to hold the materials for writing. 

If, then, certain desks were made solely to inclose 
papers, books, etc., they could have been made with 
flat as well as with sloping lids. The etymology of 
the word desk is certainly in favor of a flat top, and 
we may add that nothing at all opposed to it has 
been found in the dictionaries of the seventeenth 
century which we have consulted. 

A piece of furniture belonging to the seventeenth 
century is found in New England, concerning whose 
use there is much doubt. A specimen is shown in 



Il6 DESKS 

Fig. 46. It is a box with a drawer under it mounted 
on legs. The box is twenty-six inches long, sixteen 
and one half inches wide, and its top is thirty inches 
from the floor. If boxes with flat lids were ever 
called desks, could this have been a mounted variety ? 
It has been suggested that such pieces belonged to 
the dining-room, and were used for holding table 
linen. This may have been its design. This piece 
is owned by the writer, who has seen three other ex- 
amples. 

The desks now described include all the varieties 
that were in fashion in New England down to about 
1669, of which we have knowledge. Good specimens 
are now very scarce, especially of those with frames, 
or mounted on legs. 

A style new and altogether different from the 
desks which had preceded it now made its appear- 
ance. It was called the scrtttoir. We give here, 
from original sources, notes of a few of the earlier 
examples : — 

" In the little Chamber, 1 Scritore & desk, £\o. 6." 
— Inventory of Antipas Boyes, merchant, Boston, 
1669. 

" In y e porch Chamber, 1 desk & some devinity 
books and some knives and one scredoar, £i>" — 
Inventory of Nathan Rainsford, merchant, Boston, 
1676. 

" In the Parlor, One screetor & frame, £2." — In- 
ventory of Richard Sharp, Boston, 1677. 




Fig 47 
SCRUTOIR (AFTER HAVARD) 
Close of seventeenth century 



DESKS 117 

" In the Hung Chamber, A Scrittore, £12." 

" In the Great Chamber, A Scriptore, 50 s." — In- 
ventory of Benjamin Gibbs, merchant, Boston, 1678. 

From this time down to about 1710 they are 
occasionally met with in the inventories; after 1710 
they become more and more numerous and are found 
in many good estates. The latest scrutoir that we 
have noted is in the inventory of Rev. Nathaniel 
Hooker, of Hartford, made in 1770, though no spe- 
cial search has been made for a later mention. 

That they were rather fine structures is evident 
enough from the prices given, which, prior to 17 10, 
ranged from ten shillings up to £12, the average 
being somewhat over £5. After 1710 they were 
valued considerably higher, in some instances up to 
twenty, and even thirty pounds, but this was mainly 
due to the inflation which the currency underwent 
during the first half of the eighteenth century. 

The earliest description of this new piece of furni- 
ture that we have been able to find is the following, 
which occurs in Phillips' " New World of Words," 
fifth edition, 1696: — 

" Scrutoire, a sort of large Cabinet, with several Boxes, and a 
place for Pen, Ink and Paper, the Door of which opening down- 
ward, and resting upon Frames that are to be drawn out and put 
back, serves for a Table to write on." 

In the sixth and seventh editions of the same dic- 
tionary, published respectively in 1706 and 1720, the 



Il8 DESKS 

wording of the definition, which is the same in both, 
varies from that of the preceding as follows : — 

" Scrutoir, or Scritory, a sort of large Cabinet with several 
Drawers, and a place for Pen, Ink and Paper, the Door of which 
opening downwards, and resting upon Frames or Irons, serves for 
a Table to write on." 

In the first edition of Bailey's Dictionary, published 
in 1721, a scrutoir is defined to be "a sort of large 
Cabinet, with a door opening downwards for the 
Conveniency of Writing." This definition, which is 
essentially the same as those given by Phillips, is 
repeated in all of Bailey's dictionaries down to the 
close of the eighteenth century. 

With these clear and detailed definitions in hand, 
it is comparatively easy for the student of old furni- 
ture to identify the scrutoir, which sprang up in the 
latter part of the seventeenth century, with the 
writing-desk, which became so fashionable and pop- 
ular in the first half of the eighteenth century, and 
which continued in use considerably over a hundred 
years. 

A scrutoir said to date from the close of the 
seventeenth century is illustrated by Havard in his 
" Dictionnaire de L'Ameublement " already cited 
(Fig. 324), and is here reproduced in Fig. 47. 

It is a very beautiful specimen, and, if as old as it 
is supposed to be, it is the earliest example of the 
scrutoir to which we can refer, and as such is very 



DESKS 1 19 

interesting from the mode of its construction. It is 
quite likely that many of the earlier scrutoirs were 
mounted, like this, upon legs. It is also very proba- 
ble that others were made with drawers extending; 
nearly to the floor. 

The oldest New England scrutoir that we know 
of is shown in Fig. 48. It has several features which 
indicate that it was made in the first quarter of the 
eighteenth century. These are its fine old drop 
handles, with their delicate stamped plates and 
scutcheons ; the mouldings, instead of lips or over- 
lapping edges, around the drawers ; the long com- 
partment opened into from above by a sliding cover 
at the back part of the table, and the globular shape 
of the feet. 

The period to which such brasses and mouldings 
belong, and their value in determining the age of a 
specimen, have been fully set forth in the preceding 
chapter. The compartment referred to is an indica- 
tion that the piece was made early in the eighteenth 
century, if not before, though exceptions to this rule 
are not unknown. Later in the century its place 
was usually occupied by one long, or two short 
drawers which drew out in front just below the level 
of the table, as in the specimen next illustrated. 

The feet which support this scrutoir were made 
for it when it was new, and are the only ones that it 
has ever had. This statement is made because their 



1 20 DESKS 

genuineness has been called in question. But the 
history of this piece and an examination of the parts 
concerned leave no doubt that the present feet are 
those which have always belonged to it. Moreover, 
turned feet of large size, similar to these, are occa- 
sionally found on chests and chests of drawers made 
at the close of the seventeenth and in the begin- 
ning of the eighteenth century. They are seen on 
the chest of drawers shown in Fig. 26 of the preced- 
ing chapter. They occur also on three pieces — one 
chest and two chests of drawers — belonging to the 
writer, who, besides these, has seen several other 
examples. 

The turned feet of the six-legged chests of drawers 
and of the dressing-tables made to accompany them 
become very interesting when compared with those 
found on this scrutoir. They all belong to the same 
period ; they are, in general, of the same style and 
shape ; all are fastened to the main piece in the 
same manner; in short, they differ from each other 
in point of size only. 

One of the quaintest of the old scrutoirs found in 
New England is shown in Fig. 49, with its lid closed. 
It was picked up in Glastonbury, Conn., in 1888, 
and is now the property of Horace S. Fuller, M. D., 
of Hartford, Conn. It is made of maple. The mea- 
surement from front to back of the main part, at 
and below the level of the table, is but fifteen and 




Fig. 48 

SCRUTOIR 

Early eighteenth century 



DESKS 121 

a half inches, which is about three inches less than 
the average. This, with the steepness of the lid and 
the gracefulness of its legs, gives to this piece an 
unusually light and airy appearance. The overlap- 
ping edges of its drawers and the absence of the 
compartment above described show it to be later 
than the preceding specimen. The original brasses 
are missing, but were, no doubt, one of the transition 
types which have been described in the chapter de- 
voted to chests of drawers. 

After the middle of the century scrutoirs, like 
chests of drawers and dressing-tables, were some- 
times richly made with shaped fronts and with ball 
and claw feet. A very fine example of this style is 
shown in Fig. 50. In size it is considerably above 
the average, having a front of forty-one inches and a 
width of twenty-two and a half inches. It is made of 
cherry, with inlays of ebony and light-colored woods 
upon the lid. The little drawers in the upper part 
are twenty-nine in number, and in arrangement re- 
mind one somewhat of an amphitheater. The fol- 
lowing inscription, having all the appearances of age 
and genuineness, is written in ink on its bottom : 
"This desk was made in the year 1769 by Benjamin 
Burnham who sarved his time in Philadelphia." It 
was lately bought from an estate in Hartford, Conn., 
and is now a part of the Hosmer collection of that 
city. 



122 DESKS 

It is hard to tell how early scrutoirs with cases 
upon them for books began to be made. Writing 
desks of other styles, with cases or cabinets upon 
them, were sometimes made during the seventeenth 
century, such as the large secretary, nearly six feet 
high, in the second room on the ground floor of the 
Plantin-Moretus Museum in Antwerp, and the Mare- 
chal de Crequi bureau in the Musee de Cluny in 
Paris. Such pieces as these make it possible that 
scrutoirs with similar additions were made in the 
latter part of the seventeenth century. Other sug- 
gestive facts are the high prices at which some of 
the earlier scrutoirs were valued, and that they so 
often belonged to merchants. 

On the other hand, no mention of an upper part is 
made by Phillips in his first definition of scrutoir in 
1696 ; and as we have been unable to find any proof 
in the inventories or elsewhere of its existence in the 
seventeenth century, and because we have not met 
with the word bookcase till the year 17 10, we are in- 
clined to think that the writing desks now under 
consideration were not surmounted with cases for 
books till after the beginning of the eighteenth 
century. 

The following items bearing upon this point are 
cited from the inventory of John Mico, a Boston 
merchant, made March 7, 1718-19: — 

" In the Hall, 1 Scriptore, £6." 




Fig. 49 
SCRUTOIB 



DESKS 1 23 

"Glasses &c on y e Scriptore, £1." 

The scriptore in this instance probably had an 
upper part with a flat top, upon which glass and 
china ware were placed according to the fashion of 
the day. 

It is quite likely that the bookcases upon the 
earlier scrutoirs had flat instead of arched tops, fol- 
lowing in this respect the rule which governed the 
construction of the high chests of drawers. Book- 
cases with flat tops, however, did not cease to be 
made after the introduction of those with the arched 
top. 

As a rule the bookcase doors were made wholly 
of wood ; occasionally they were glazed, as in the 
following; instances : — 

" In the Front Chamber, 1 fine Glass Escrutore 
the Glass broke, £%." — Inventory of Henry Frank- 
lin, merchant, Boston, 1725. 

" Scriptoree with Glass doors, ^20." — Inventory 
of Governor William Burnet, Boston, 1729. 

" In y e Middle Room, 1 Scrutore & Book case 
w ,h Glass doors, ,£26." — Inventory of Matthew Bond, 
merchant, Boston, 1737. 

A very fine example of the scrutoir with an upper 
part is shown in Fig. 51. It belongs to Mr. William 
G. Boardman, of Hartford, Conn. It is made of 
mahogany, and dates from about the middle of the 
eighteenth century. 



124 DESKS 

In 1683 " 1 small Scriptore, in the Lower Bed 
Roome," was valued at ten shillings in the inventory 
of Thomas Kellond, merchant, of Boston ; and in 
1 71 7 " 1 Small Scritore," at thirty shillings, in that 
of Captain Walter Roswell, mariner, of the same 
place. These facts show that the early scrutoirs 
were sometimes small as well as cheap pieces. They 
were probably made above in the usual manner ; but 
instead of reaching to the floor, possibly terminated 
just below the supports for the flap. In this condi- 
tion they were more or less portable, and, like the 
pupitre desks, were placed upon tables or other ob- 
jects for use. The " screetor & frame " which we 
have cited from the inventory of Richard Sharpe 
was probably one of these small pieces mounted 
upon a frame made to receive it. 

The scrutoir mentioned, in 1669, in the inventory 
of Antipas Boyes is the first that we have noted 
either in this country or in England. It was, un- 
doubtedly, an early specimen of its kind. But as 
the scrutoir originated in Europe it is probable that 
it had been in use for some time before the fashion 
reached Boston. We may, therefore, expect that the 
word will be found in the English records somewhat 
anterior to this date. 

In his work already cited, Havard informs us that 
the first use that he has been able to find in France of 
the word escritoire., to designate a writing: desk, is the 



DESKS 125 

following, which occurs in 1680, in the inventory of 
Henri de Bethune, Archbishop of Bordeaux : " Un 
grand escritoire en pupitre debhie noire." Among 
others, he also cites from the inventory of the furni- 
ture of the Crown, made in 1697: "Une table-escri- 
toire qui souvre par-desstis, ayant 4 pieds de long sur 
2 pieds 4 pouces de large, couvcrte de velours rouge 
cramoisy ;" and " une petite table en ecritoire, de mar- 
quctcrie etain et ctiivre, et par-dessus de panne verte" 
from an inventory made in Paris in 17 18. The last 
use that he has been able to find of the word ecritoire 
in the sense above given is in the year 1770. 

In New England the scrutoir held its name se- 
curely for a period of fifty years. During all this 
time the word desk continued to be used in the rec- 
ords in its old sense, and to be inventoried at its old 
prices. 

In 1 7 19, "one Pine Writing Desk" was valued at 
£2 10 s. in the estate of Joshua Roberts, a japanner, 
of Boston, and in 1721, " 1 Oak Desk" at ,£5, in that 
of James Scollay, of Boston. From this time it is 
not an uncommon thing to find desks apprized as 
high as scrutoirs. 

At the same time that the New England scrutoir 
began to be called a desk it received still another 
name. In 1721, "A Burow Desk" was valued at 
£?>• 10. in the inventory of David Craigie, mariner, 
of Boston, and in 1725, " 1 Buroe " at ^5, in that of 



1 26 DESKS 

Henry Franklin, of Boston. " Beuroes " are men- 
tioned in an advertisement in the " Daily Courant " 
of London, June 14, 1710, seven to ten years earlier 
than the use of the word by Swift in " Sandy's 
Ghost," so often cited by the lexicographers. 

The additional names, desk and bureau, were prob- 
ably not given to the scrutoir, because the latter had 
undergone changes that required special designa- 
tions. When the scrutoir appeared in England and 
in her American colonies it had received its name, 
which, as we have seen, was retained for half a cen- 
tury. By this time it had become a well-known ob- 
ject, and began to be called a desk mainly through 
a tendency to revert from a foreign to an old and 
familiar English word. 

It is quite possible that in France the ecritoire be- 
gan to be called a biireau through a similar process 
of reversion, the word bureau being in that country 
the national or generic name for writing desks of all 
kinds. In the first or French part of his French- 
English dictionary, published in 1699, Boyer defined 
the word bureau as follows : " Bureau, {Espece de 
Table a plusieurs tiroirs & Tablettes) a Chest of 
Drawers, a Serutorr Boyer was familiar with both 
French and English furniture, having lived in France 
until he was twenty-one, and in England long enough 
to acquire the language thoroughly. This definition 
may therefore be accepted as evidence that pieces 




Fig. 50 
SCRUTOIR 
Made in the year 



DESKS 127 

of furniture like the scrutoir were called bureaus in 
France as early as 1699. 

The new French name for the scrutoir, in what- 
ever manner received, soon found its way to England 
and this country, and into the records as above de- 
scribed. 

Were, then, these three names, scrutoir, desk, and 
bureau, used interchangeably and applied without dis- 
crimination to pieces which had hitherto been called 
scrutoirs ? This was undoubtedly true of such ex- 
amples as are represented in Figs. 48, 49, and 50, 
that is, with drawers below the level of the table, and 
without bookcases above the main part. That is to 
say, that in a community where all did not under- 
stand and use these terms alike, such pieces would 
be correctly called scrutoirs by one, desks by another, 
and bureaus by a third person. We are led to this 
conclusion by the following facts : — 

The prices at which scrutoirs, desks, and bureaus, 
without tops, were inventoried in New England run 
about the same. 

The scrutoir as described in this chapter was, we 
believe, about the only writing desk in New England 
in the first half of the eighteenth century to which 
these names, with the prices given, could have been 
applied. Some of the high-priced " desks " of this 
period may have been of the pupitre variety, of large 
size, and mounted on frames, such as are seen to- 



128 DESKS 

day in shops and counting-houses. These, however, 
would not have been called scrutoirs, or bureaus. 

In Bailey's "Dictionarium Britannicum," second edi- 
tion, London, 1736, Bureau is defined to be " a Cabi- 
net or Chest of Drawers or Scrutoir for Depositing 
Papers of Accounts ; also a Buffet for setting Plate, 
China Ware, &c." In this definition bureau and 
scrutoir are made convertible terms. 

The words desk and scrutoir were also used inter- 
changeably, as in the following instance, from the 
inventory of Anthony Stoddard, made in Boston in 
1748: "In the Front Room, 1 Desk or Scrutore, 

/i 5-" 

In 1753, and again in 1760, Chippendale published 
designs for scrutoirs with bookcases on them, like 
the one shown in our illustration, Fig. 51. These, 
however, he did not call scrutoirs or bureaus, but 
desks and bookcases. 

Finally, in defining the word bureau in 1803 in 
his " Cabinet Dictionary," already cited, Sheraton 
says : — 

" In England it has generally been applied to common desks 
with drawers under them, such as are made very frequently in 
country towns. They run from 3 to 4 feet long, and have three 
heights of common drawers under them, the upper one divided 
into two in length. The desk flap turns down to 30 inches per- 
pendicular height from the ground, or a little less, for sitting to 
write at. The inside of the desk part is filled up with small 
drawers and holes for letters. These pieces of furniture are 




Fig. 51 
SCRUTOIR WITH BOOKCASE 



DESKS 129 

nearly obsolete in London ; at least they are so amongst fashion- 
able people. I have, however, endeavoured to retrieve their ob- 
scurity, by adding to them an open book case, and modernizing 
the lower part, as in plate 23, where they are called Bureau Book- 
case." 

It will be seen from this description and the cut 
to which it refers, which represents a desk with a 
sloping lid when closed, that in England the word 
bureau had been in quite general use as one of the 
names for the scrutoir. 

We will now present a few facts which seem to 
show that the words scrutoir, desk, and bureau were 
sometimes used to designate objects different from 
each other. 

In the advertisement referred to in the " Daily 
Courant," of London, June 14, 1710, " Scrutores, 
Cabinets and Beuroes of Wallnut-Tree" are men- 
tioned. 

In William Randle's advertisement in " The Bos- 
ton News- Letter" in 171 5, to which reference has 
twice before been made, we find mention of " Es- 
crutoires," " Writing Desks," and " Bookcases with 
Desks." 

Indeed, it is not an uncommon thing for scrutoirs 
and bureaus, or bureaus and desks with bookcases, 
to appear together in advertisements in the London 
newspapers during the first half of the eighteenth 
century. 



1 30 DESKS 

If now we turn to the inventories, we shall occa- 
sionally find facts of similar import, as shown in the 
following extracts : — 

" In the Front Chamber, 1 fine Glass Escrutore 
the Glass broke, £8. 1 Buroe, £5." — Inventory of 
Henry Franklin, Boston, 1725. 

" 1 Desk, £4. 10. A Scretore & Table, £ 10." — 
Inventory of Daniel Willard, ship chandler, Boston, 
1728. 

"ABuro,/i 5 ." 

"An Escruitore, ,£10." 

"A Desk with book Case, ^30." — Inventory of 
Lewis Vassall, gentleman, Braintree, Mass., 1743. 

It is doubtless true, as already intimated, that 
much confusion prevailed in the use of these words. 
Dictionaries were scarce, scrutoir and bureau were 
foreign terms, and the latter was not defined in the 
English vocabularies till 1736. Moreover, the scope 
of the word desk had been extended so as to include 
styles that were also known by other names. 

It must, however, be admitted that when two or 
more names, such as bureau and scrutoir, or bureau, 
desk, and scrutoir, are found in the same adver- 
tisement or inventory, the pieces which these words 
were used to represent were, in all probability, more 
or less different from each other. What explanation 
of this can be given consistent with the supposed 
identity of the scrutoir, the desk, and the bureau? 



DESKS 1 3 I 

It has already been shown that the term scrutoir 
stood for pieces without, as well as with, the bookcase 
above. By attention to the prices given it will also 
be found that when the word desk or btircau was used 
in the inventories, a desk or bureau without a book- 
case was ordinarily meant. When the bookcase was 
present the valuation was nearly double, and the piece 
was called either a scrutoir, or a desk and bookcase, 
or, more rarely, a bureau and bookcase. 

It seems, therefore, exceedingly probable that the 
use of the words scrutoir and desk, or bureau and 
scrutoir, in the same inventory, was because one of 
the pieces referred to had an upper part or bookcase 
upon it, while the other had not. 

There is still another way in which such instances 
as we have cited may be explained. Some of these 
early bureaus were " bureau tables," that is, chests 
of drawers with flat tops, instead of being finished 
above, like the scrutoir, with a desk, flap, and pigeon- 
holes. A few facts relating to these pieces are here 
presented. 

" Buerow Tables " are mentioned in an advertise- 
ment in " The Daily Post," of London, January 4, 
1727. This is the earliest notice of them that we 
have seen. The following are examples from the in- 
ventories : — 

" In the Easterly Chamber, 1 Buro Table, £11" — 
Inventory of Pyam Blowers, merchant, Boston, 1739. 



132 DESKS 

" In the Front Chamber, i Buro Table with 
Drawers, £15." — Inventory of John Phillips, mer- 
chant, Boston, 1747. 

" In the Back Chamber, 1 Buroe Table, £$. 6. 8." 

" In the Back Room, 1 desk black walnut Buroe, 
£2. 13. 4." — Inventory of Thomas Palmer, -Esq., 
Boston, 1752. 

"In the front Chamber, A Buro Chamber Table, 
£2." — Inventory of William Clark, physician, Bos- 
ton, 1760. 

" A mohogany Chest of Drawers & Beaurow Table, 
,£13. 6. 8." — Inventory of Daniel Malcom, merchant, 
Boston, 1769. 

What was the use of these bureau tables ? Were 
they writing or dressing-tables ? 

We are informed by Bailey that in 1736 a bureau 
was " a cabinet or chest of drawers or scrutoir for 
depositing papers of accounts." We also know that 
the word btireau was used in England and in her 
colonies in the eighteenth century to designate a 
chest of drawers for clothes ; but how early it was 
employed in this sense it is very difficult, if not im- 
possible, to tell from the dictionaries. 

That the bureau tables now under consideration 
were of the latter kind is probable from the following 
facts : — 

That whenever the apartments in which they were 
found have been mentioned in such inventories as 




SECRET 



DESKS 133 

we have examined, they have invariably proved to be 
bedchambers. 

That in some of these instances the bedroom con- 
tained no other piece that could have been used as 
a bureau or dressing-table. This is found to have 
been the case in the houses of Pyam Blowers, John 
Phillips, and Thomas Palmer. 

That though Chippendale's designs for " Com- 
mode Bureau Tables," and " Bureau Dressing Ta- 
bles " are dated 1 760, yet his " French Commode 
Tables," published in 1753, were chests of drawers 
such as in later years were defined as bureaus. 

That the " Buro Chamber Table " in the inventory 
of William Clark and the " Beaurow Table " in that 
of Daniel Malcom were indisputably bureaus in the 
modern acceptation of the term. From the known 
character of these two pieces, and from Chippen- 
dale's designs for " bureau dressing tables," it is rea- 
sonable to infer the character of the bureau tables 
which we find in our inventories of earlier date. 

There were, therefore, bureau tables, as well as bu- 
reau desks, and when these different expressions are 
found in the inventories we know that different ob- 
jects were meant. When, however, the word bureati 
alone is found, which is about as frequently as the 
other expression taken together, the nature of the 
piece must often remain in doubt. If it were in a 
room where there was no bed, it was presumably a 



1 34 DESKS 

desk ; if in a bedchamber, and the only piece that 
could be so used, it was probably a chest of drawers. 

In some of the instances, then, in which the words 
scrutoir, desk, and bureau are found in the same in- 
ventory or advertisement, the bureau may very well 
have been a chest of drawers for clothes, instead of 
a desk or scrutoir for writing and for holding papers 
of accounts. If we may trust to indications derived 
from the inventories, the word scrutoir had nearly 
run its course by the year 1770. It probably fell 
into complete disuse soon after this date. 

The term bureau in the sense of a secretary grad- 
ually gave way during the last quarter of the eight- 
eenth century to the word desk. In some places, 
however, its use was extended well into the present 
century; and, according to information received from 
Mr. George R. Curwen and Mr. Henry F. Waters, of 
Salem, Mass., desks like the ones shown in our illus- 
trations, Figs. 48, 49, and 50, are sometimes called 
bureau desks in Salem to this day. 

The writing desk with a deep flap, vertical when 
closed, which came in fashion in France about 1750, 
did not obtain any foothold in New England during 
the eighteenth century. Examples of this style are 
occasionally seen here at the present day. Many of 
these were made in Europe in the present century. 

In 1787 Heppelwhite published designs for " Sec- 
retaries and Bookcases," one of which is reproduced 




Fig. 53 

THE PRESIDENT'S CHAIR, HARVARD UNIVERSITY 



DESKS 135 

in Fig. 52. They differ from the desk and bookcase, 
he says, "in not being sloped in front. The accom- 
modations therefore for writing are produced by the 
face of the upper drawer falling down by means of 
a spring and quadrant, which produces the same use- 
fulness as the flap of a desk." Pieces of this descrip- 
tion, belonging to the close of the eighteenth and 
the beginning of the nineteenth century, are quite 
common in New England. 

The secretaries with sliding covers for the desk, 
the bureati a cylindre, which sprang up in France 
about 1750, apparently did not reach New England 
until the close of the century, and then in a form 
modified by Heppelwhite, and named by him " Tam- 
bour writing Tables." The tambour cylinder desks 
of Heppelwhite have been seen here, but they are 
certainly very rare. 

Standishes are sometimes mentioned in the rec- 
ords, as we have seen, especially in those of the 
seventeenth century. They were made of wood as 
well as of metals. " A woodden standish " was ap- 
prized at ten shillings in the inventory of Robert 
Keayne, made in Boston in 1657. Another "wooden 
standish" was valued at five shillings in 1660 in the 
estate of Henry Webb, of Boston; and in 1672 "1 
pewter standish " at 2 s. 6 d. in that of William Whit- 
tingham of the same place. 

In an advertisement in the " London Gazette," 



1 36 DESKS 

November 30-December 4, 17 14, "one round silver 
standish with silver boxes for ink and sand " is men- 
tioned; and one that belonged to Dean Swift is thus 
described in his will made in 1740: — 

" I bequeath to Deane Swift, esq., my large silver standish, 
consisting of a large silver plate, an ink-pot, a sand-box and bell 
of the same metal." 

The stand dish was of various shapes and sizes, 
the essential part being a dish or tray in which were 
set boxes or stands for ink and sand. There was 
sometimes a little drawer under the dish. Havard, 
in his work before cited, has illustrated seven very 
interesting examples under the word ccritoire. 



CHAPTER V. 

CHAIRS. 

Chairs were very scarce in early colonial times. 
Only fifty-six are mentioned in the first sixty-one 
inventories of Plymouth, Mass., made from 1633 to 
1654, and but one hundred in the first seventy-nine 
inventories, from 1639 to 1653, in Boston. The 
inventories of the first fifty-six householders of New 
Haven, Conn., recorded from 1647 to 1662, show 
one hundred and forty-six chairs, while only one 
hundred and fifty are found among the chattels of 
the first seventy-five householders of Hartford, Conn., 
from 1 64 1 to 1659. 

In many of these inventories no chairs at all are 
mentioned, while in others the number much exceeds 
the average, ranging from six to twenty-four. 

This scarcity of chairs was not mainly due to dis- 
tant migration, pioneer life, and lack of wealth, but 
rather to the use of stools and forms for seats, a cus- 
tom which the colonists had brought from the mother 
country. In England stools and forms were yet in 
common use, and chairs, which during the sixteenth 
century bad been very scarce, did not become at all 
abundant till after the Commonwealth. 



138 CHAIRS 

There were three very distinct types of chairs in 
New England in the seventeenth century, namely, 
the turned, the wainscot, and those with seats and 
backs covered with leather or with textiles of various 
sorts. 

The chair known at Harvard University as the 
President's Chair (Fig. 53) is one of the oldest and 
most noted of the turned chairs to be found in this 
country. It has been sung by Holmes in his " Par- 
son Turell's Legacy," and pictured in the popular 
magazines. 

The following facts relating to this chair, as well 
as to other old turned chairs which in England 
were eagerly hunted down by collectors over a cen- 
tury and a quarter ago, are quoted from pages 312 
and 313 of Pierce's "History of Harvard University," 
published in Cambridge, Mass., in 1833 : — 

" The Chair was brought to the College during President Hol- 
yoke's administration. Dr. Holyoke is pretty certain it came 
from Mystick. He supposed it was brought from England; — 
never heard of its having been made by a Clergyman here. 
President Holyoke added the round knobs to the chair, which 
he turned himself. Dr. H. has been asked about it fifty times. 

" A correspondent has put into the Editor's hands the follow- 
ing curious extracts from Horace Walpole's Private Corre- 
spondence, giving a description of some antique chairs found 
in England, exactly of the same construction with the College 
chair ; a circumstance which corroborates the supposition that 
this also was brought from England. 




Fig. 54 

TURNED CHAIR 

Early sixteenth century 



CHAIRS 139 

"HORACE WALPOLE TO GEORGE MONTAGU, ESQ. 

"Strawberry-Hill, August 20, 1761. 

" Dickey Bateman has picked up a whole cloister full of old 
chairs in Herefordshire. He bought them one by one, here and 
there in farm-houses, for three-and-sixpence, and a crown apiece. 
They are of wood, the seats triangular, the backs, arms, and legs 
loaded with turnery. A thousand to one but there are plenty up 
and down Cheshire too. If Mr. and Mrs. Wetenhall, as they 
ride or drive out, would now and then pick up such a chair, it 
would oblige me greatly. Take notice, no two need be of the 
same pattern. — Private Correspondence of Horace Walpole, Earl 
of Oxford, vol. ii. p. 279. 

"HORACE WALPOLE TO THE REV. MR. COLE. 

"Strawberry-Hill, March 9, 1765. 

" When you go into Cheshire, and upon your ramble, may I 
trouble you with a commission ? but about which you must prom- 
ise me not to go a step out of your way. Mr. Bateman has got 
a cloister at old Windsor furnished with ancient wooden chairs, 
most of them triangular, but all of various patterns, and carved 
and turned in the most uncouth and whimsical forms. He 
picked them up one by one, for two, three, five, or six shillings 
apiece from different farm-houses in Herefordshire. I have long 
envied and coveted them. There may be such in poor cottages 
in so neighbouring a county as Cheshire. I should not grudge 
any expense for purchase or carriage ; and should be glad even 
of a couple such for my cloister here. When you are copying 
inscriptions in a church-yard in any village, think of me, and step 
into the first cottage you see — but don't take further trouble 
than that. — Ibid., vol. iii. pp. 23, 24." 



140 CHAIRS 

These interesting letters prove that very old chairs 
with triangular seats, and with backs, arms, and legs 
loaded with turnery " in the most uncouth and 
whimsical forms," could be picked up in English 
farmhouses in the last century at about the same 
time that the President's chair was brought to Har- 
vard University. They also show that such chairs 
were sufficiently rare at that time to be coveted by 
one of the most noted of English collectors. 

A chair very similar to the President's chair is 
preserved in the Ashmolean Museum at Oxford, 
England, where at present no more is known of it 
than in 1S36, when it was catalogued as " a chair 
said to have been part of the furniture of Windsor 
Castle in the time of Henry VIII." A cut (No. 307) 
of this chair may be seen in Wright's " Homes of 
Other Days," London, 187 1. There are eight holes 
through the top rail of its back for ornamental pegs, 
like the ones seen in the Harvard chair, but the pegs 
themselves are missing. 

Another example of this style, resembling the 
Ashmolean chair, was found and purchased in Ches- 
ter, England, in 1S86, by Mr. Henry F. Waters, the 
celebrated genealogist, from whose collection of old 
and rare furniture in Salem, Mass., we have drawn 
so freely to illustrate this volume. 

A well-known chair belonging to the Connecticut 
Historical Society, of Hartford, is represented in 




Fig. 55 
CHAIR FROM A PAINTING BY JAN STEEN 



CHAIRS 141 

our next illustration (Fig. 54). Cuts of this chair 
have been published by different writers with histo- 
ries and dates widely at variance with one another. 
Its period is probably the same as that of the Har- 
vard chair, which it closely resembles, the departures 
from that type being chiefly due to its quadrilateral 
shape. Two of the three vertical pieces in the back 
of this chair are restorations faithfully copied from 
the third, which is original. 

Turned chairs of triangular shape of the same 
general style as the Harvard chair, but of much sim- 
pler construction, were in use in Germany in the 
latter part of the fifteenth century, and in Holland 
and Flanders down to the middle of the seventeenth 
century. This, for the early period, is attested by 
Israel Von Mecheln's enafravinsf of " The Virgin 
ascending the Steps of the Temple ; " and for the 
later, by such pictures as " Le Parabole de l'Enfant 
Prodigue," by Sebastiaan Francken, the " Tableau 
de Famille," by Jan Steen, both in the Musee Van 
Der Hoop, in Amsterdam ; by the " Portrait d'un 
Peintre," by Zacht Leven, dated 1629, in the Louvre, 
and by "The Lord's Supper," by James Jordaens the 
elder, in the Antwerp Museum. In each of these pic- 
tures there is a chair like the one shown in Fig. 55, 
which has been drawn for us from the painting by 
Jan Steen above mentioned. These simple three- 
cornered chairs were developed from the three-legged 



142 CHAIRS 

stools of precisely the same pattern that are found 
in the paintings and illuminated manuscripts of the 
fifteenth century. 

It is, however, somewhat unlikely that chairs of 
the Harvard type were made as early as the Von 
Mecheln example, on the general principle that time 
is required for so much development and elaboration. 
It is more probable that they began to be made in 
the first half of the sixteenth century, and we know 
that some specimens remained in use well into the 
seventeenth century. 

Turned armchairs of the style represented in Fig. 
56 appear to have been much used in New England 
during the first seventy-five years of its colonial life. 
They are already familiar to many through the so- 
called Carver and Brewster chairs kept in Pilgrim 
Hall at Plymouth, Mass., cuts of which have been 
published from time to time; and the chair of the 
apostle John Eliot, in the First Church at Dorchester, 
Mass., which is pictured in the first volume of Win- 
sor's " Memorial History of Boston." Besides the four 
now referred to the writer has seen nine other exam- 
ples, has knowledge of eight more, making twenty- 
one, and believes that many more will yet be brought 
to light. 

In the inventories they are included in such en- 
tries as " turned chairs," " great chairs " (chairs with 
arms), and " flag bottomed chairs." They cannot, 




Fig. 56 

TURNED CHAIR 

First half seventeenth century 



CHAIRS 143 

therefore, be accurately traced and identified in these 
records because there were other turned, great, and 
flag-bottomed chairs in use at the same time. The 
posts, which are very large in the older specimens, 
are almost invariably made of ash, the arms and 
stretchers usually of hickory, while the light turned 
work in their backs is often made up of two or three 
different woods, as hickory, ash, and birch. Only a 
momentary comparison is needed to show that these 
chairs are the lineal descendants of the type shown 
in Fig. 54. It is generally supposed that they date 
from about the beginning of the seventeenth century. 
The specimen here illustrated belongs to the writer. 
It was lately picked up in Hartford, Conn. The seat is 
new, but the frame is the original in every particular. 

Another type of turned chair much in vogue in 
the seventeenth century was that with horizontal 
slats in the back. A very old example of this style 
is shown in our next illustration, Fig. 57. It was 
bought in Killingly, Conn., in 1889, and is now in 
the Hosmer collection. The feet, which had been 
cut off, have been restored and a new seat put in, so 
that the chair is presented as nearly as possible in 
its original state. It will be noticed that the only 
essential difference between this chair and the one 
preceding it is in the substitution of the horizontal 
slats for the turned work in the back. 

A second specimen of this type, rather quaint and 



144 CHAIRS 

unique from the shape and inclination of its arms, is 
shown in Fig. 58. It was bought in Lebanon, Conn., 
in 1878, from a family in which it had been for sev- 
eral generations, and now belongs to the writer. 

Chairs with these backs seem to have been in use 
in Germany and the Netherlands in very early times. 
In the picture of " St. John the Evangelist, and His 
Disciples," painted in the latter part of the fifteenth 
century, and attributed to Israel Von Mecheln, there 
occurs a chair, apparently triangular in shape, with 
a transverse slat running between two of its turned 
posts. Also in the " Two Episodes in the Life of 
St. Benedict," by John Mostaert (1 474-1 555), in the 
Musee de Peinture, in Brussels, there is seen a 
clumsy chair with heavy hewn posts with such slats 
in its back. Turned chairs, with and without arms, 
with transverse pieces in their backs, very similar to 
the two here illustrated, are frequently found in the 
paintings of the Dutch and Flemish masters of the 
seventeenth century. Chairs of this style, without 
arms, and usually with two slats in the back, were in 
common use in New England all through the seven- 
teenth and well into the eighteenth century. They 
were made much smaller, and lower in the back than 
those with arms, which, as we have said, were called 
great chairs. 

Chairs with flag bottoms are often mentioned in 
the inventories of the seventeenth century, but doubt- 



CHAIRS 145 

less many of these seats were made from the inner 
fibrous bark of various trees. The bark of the bass 
or linden tree was much used for this purpose. " 4 
basse chaires " are mentioned in John Cotton's in- 
ventory, made in Boston in 1652-53. After the be- 
ginning of the eighteenth century " bass bottomed " 
chairs are frequently met with in lists of household 
furniture. Many of the turned chairs above de- 
scribed have, when found, remnants of old seats in 
them which at first sight appear to be made of flags 
or rushes, but when the strands are untwisted and 
examined their material is discovered to be the inner 
bark of some kind of tree. Besides the linden, it is 
known that the bark of the elm tree was also used 
for bottoming chairs. 

The wainscot chairs which figure in the early rec- 
ords were doubtless those made up — backs, seats, 
and all — of wood, the wood being almost invariably 
oak. The back is the part on which the most orna- 
mentation was bestowed. It was usually paneled, 
and sometimes carved and dated. But few are men- 
tioned in the inventories, and specimens have become 
very scarce. One said to have belonged to Edward 
Winslow, who came in the Mayflower, is now in Pil- 
grim Hall at Plymouth, another, the Rector Pier- 
son chair, is kept in the library of Yale University ; 
a very good specimen belongs to the Waters collec- 
tion in Salem, but the best that we have seen in this 



146 CHAIRS 

country is the one preserved in the Essex Institute 
at Salem, and shown in our next illustration, Fig. 
59. A cut of this same chair is given in Bryant and 
Gay's " History of the United States," and also in 
Cook's " House Beautiful." It was given to the His- 
torical Society (now merged in the Essex Institute) 
of Salem, Mass., June 27, 182 1, by Robert Brook- 
house, of Salem. He had obtained it through his 
first wife, Martha Farley, whose parents, Major John 
Farley and Sarah Dennis, natives of Ipswich, Mass., 
removed to Newcastle, Me., in 1772 or 1773. This 
chair and another, said to be a complete counterpart 
to it, a carved chest dated 1634, and a tape loom, all 
belonging to Sarah Dennis, were then taken from 
Ipswich to Newcastle. There is traditional evidence 
that the age of the chairs and the tape loom corre- 
sponds to that of the chest, and that these articles 
were brought over from England by the first emi- 
grant of the Dennis family. The other chair was 
owned in 1872 by E. W. Farley, of Newcastle, Me., 
but he has since given it to Bowdoin College, where 
it is now used as the President's chair. 

Wainscot chairs were quite common in England 
and Scotland in the seventeenth century, and may 
now be seen in many of the old manor houses. 
There are two in the great hall at Hardwick, dated 
respectively 1662 and 1688, and one recently brought 
from Scotland to Hartford, Conn., bears the date 
1648, carved in relief on its back. 




Fig. 57 

TURNED CHAIR 

Early seventeenth century 



CHAIRS 147 

In some of these chairs the space below the seat 
is inclosed by means of panels let into the frame- 
work, and panels also fill the spaces between the 
seat and the arms on each side. An example of this 
kind, dated 1652, is now preserved in the Old South 
Church of Boston. 

Leather chairs, that is, chairs with leather seats 
and backs, were comparatively common in New Eng- 
land in the seventeenth century. They often oc- 
curred in sets, and usually belonged to people of 
wealth or of high social standing. Some interesting- 
facts relating to them are shown in the following 
items : — 

" In the Hall, Three leather chaires and 3 smaller 
leather chaires, £1. 10." — Inventory of John At- 
wood, Plymouth, 1643. 

"In the Hall, 3 red Leather chaires, 13s. 4." — In- 
ventory of William Clark, Salem, 1647. 

" In y e great Parlour, 7 leather Chaires, £$. o. o." 
— Inventory of John Cotton, Boston, 1652-53. 

"4 lether chaires, £1. 12." 

"1 great lether chaire, 10 s." — Inventory of Wil- 
liam Bradford, Plymouth, 1657. 

" 1 1 Rusha Lether chaires in the hale at 1 1 s., 
£6. 1 s." 

" 5 Rusha lether chaires, ^"3. 5 s." — Inventory of 
William Paddy, merchant, Boston, 1658. 

"In y e Halle, 12 Red Lethered chares at £5." — 
Inventory of Jacob Sheaffe, Boston, 1659. 



148 CHAIRS 

Some of these chairs were doubtless made in Eng- 
land, and some in this country, but in both cases in 
accordance with the fashion then prevailing in West- 
ern Europe. One finds from the chairs in the paint- 
ings of the old masters, as well as from the numerous 
specimens preserved in European museums, that the 
leather chairs of the period now under consideration 
were almost invariably made with rather low rectan- 
gular backs. Rubens 's chair, which is shown in Fig. 
60 as a very good example, is about nineteen and a 
half inches high from the seat to the top of the back 
between the posts. The seat is twenty and five 
eighths inches high, seventeen and a half inches 
wide, and fourteen and three quarters inches deep. 
This chair is kept in the Royal Museum in Antwerp. 
It has its original leather seat and back, and on the 
latter is the name Pet. Paul Rubens, and the date 

I( 533- 

In Fig. 61 is shown an old chair with its seat and 
back of stamped leather in a very fair state of pre- 
servation. The leather in both places was drawn 
over the wooden frame, without padding underneath, 
and fastened with large and small copper nails which 
are still in place. Indeed, the only noteworthy loss 
that this valuable specimen has sustained is in its 
feet, which, from wear, decay, and mutilation, have 
been shortened from two to three inches. This chair 
belongs to Trinity College, at Hartford, Conn., and 




Fig. 58 

TURNED CHAIR 

About !650 



| 



CHAIRS I49 

is kept in the library. It was presented to the col- 
lege about forty years ago by the late Thomas Win- 
throp Coit, to whom it had descended from Governor 
Joseph Wanton, of Rhode Island, one of his ances- 
tors. 

Another very good chair of this period is repre- 
sented in Fig. 62. It was picked up a few years 
since in Essex County, Mass., and is now in the 
Waters collection. It has a stuffed seat and back, 
but the original leather covering was too much dam- 
aged by time to admit of repair. The new covering 
is put on in the same way as the old. The feet, 
which were probably turned, are missing, but the re- 
mainder of the frame is in an excellent state of pre- 
servation. The seat is now eighteen inches high to 
the top of its frame, and, with the feet, was fully two 
and a half inches higher. The hight of the back, 
measuring from the frame of the seat, is seventeen 
and five eighths inches, and from the top of the 
stuffed seat, sixteen and a half inches. The seat is 
larse, its frame having a front of nineteen and three 
eighths inches, and a depth of sixteen and three 
eighths inches. 

Leather chairs with low backs are occasionally 
mentioned in the New England records down to the 
middle of the eighteenth century, if not later. There 
is, however, much uncertainty as to whether these 
chairs had leather backs or not, for we know that 



150 CHAIRS 

chairs with leather on the seats only were frequently 
put clown in the inventories of the eighteenth cen- 
tury as " leather chairs." If they had leather backs 
and seats they were probably old chairs that had 
been made in the preceding century, and though out 
of fashion, were kept in use because they were con- 
sidered too good to throw aside. 

Besides leather, the stuffed chairs of the seven- 
teenth century were also covered with fabrics of 
different kinds. Some idea of the richness of these 
stuffs and of the variety of their colors may be ob- 
tained from the following extracts : — 

" In the parlour, 2 velvett Chaires & 2 velvett 
Stooles, £$. 6." 

" 3 turky wrought chaires, 24 s." 

" 1 blue chaire, 6 s." — Inventory of Governor John 
Haynes, Hartford, 1653. 

" 2 turki worked chaires, £1. 12." 

"2 turkie bottoms and backs for chayres, £1. 2." 

"4 wrowght covers for stooles Irish stitch, 15 s." 
— Inventory of William Paddy, merchant, Boston, 
1658. 

" 6 branch silke stoole covrs & 3 such for chayres, 
.£1.0.0." 

" 2 purple brancht silke covers for stooles & 2 such 
for great chayres, 14 s." — Inventory of Henry Dun- 
ster, 1659. Records Middlesex County, Mass. 

" In the hall chamber, 4 red stooles 2 red cloath 




Fig. 59 

CARVED OAKEN "WAINSCOT" CHAIR 

First half seventeenth century 



CHAIRS I 5 I 

chaires with fringe." — Inventory of William Paine, 
Boston, merchant, 1660. Inventory in Essex County 
Records, Salem, Mass. 

" In y e Hall Chamber, 7 Greene chaires & stooles, 
4 with fringes & three w* gallowne, £3. 10." — In- 
ventory of Henry Webb, merchant, Boston, 1660. 

" In the chamber, 6 Turkie worke. chayres, £3." — 
Inventory of Benjamin Richards, merchant, Boston, 
1667. 

"14 Turkie workt chaires, £5. 10." — Inventory 
of John Freake, merchant, Boston, 1675. 

" 7 couers for chairs & one cuberd cushin, all of 
neadle work, £2. 15." — Inventory of Joseph Farnum, 
shopp keeper, Boston, 167S. 

" In the Hall, one dozen of Turkey work Chayrs, 
,£5." — Inventory of Rev. Thomas Shepard, Charles- 
towne, 1678. 

Two Turkey work chairs, with their original cov- 
ers, are represented in Figs. 63 and 64. The first is 
said to have belonged to Roger Williams, who died 
in 1683. It is now owned by one of his descend- 
ants, Mr. Henry M. Schmuck, of West Springfield, 
Mass. The seat is high, as was often the case in 
these old chairs. It is twenty and one half inches 
to the top of the front rail, and the upholstering 
raises it fully two inches higher. The back is low, 
its top being only sixteen and three quarters inches 
above the frame of the seat, and thirty-seven and one 



152 CHAIRS 

quarter inches from the floor. The seat measures 
nineteen and three quarters inches from side to side, 
and seventeen inches from front to back. 

The second chair, now belonging to the writer, 
was lately found in a very rickety condition in an old 
house in the town of Harwinton, Conn. No history 
of it could be obtained. Its dimensions, which vary 
somewhat from those of the preceding, are as fol- 
lows: Frame of seat, nineteen and seven eighths by 
sixteen and five eighths inches. Hight of seat to top 
of frame, seventeen inches ; to top of the stuffing, 
nineteen and one half inches. Hisdit of the back 
from the frame of the seat, twenty-four inches ; from 
the floor, forty-one inches. 

Both of these chairs are made of maple, and both 
are stuffed with salt marsh grass, a material often 
found in the seats of old chairs. The four Turkey 
rugs with which these chairs are covered, two backs 
and two seats, are each made in separate pieces with 
closed or selvedged borders on all sides. This fact, 
with the two " turkie bottoms and backs for chayres," 
mentioned in the inventory of William Paddy, would 
seem to show that patterns for the seats and backs 
of chairs were regularly made in the Orient for the 
European market in the seventeenth century. 

The Irish stitch found in the inventory of William 
Paddy was one of the embroidery stitches then in 
vogue. " The Needle's Excellency," by John Taylor, 



CHAIRS 153 

London, 1640, contains a poem entitled the "Praise 
of the Needle," in which the Irish stitch, Spanish 
stitch, Fine Feme stitch, Brave bred stitch, Queen 
stitch, Rosemary stitch, and many others, are men- 
tioned as the favorite stitches of the day. 

By the close of the seventeenth century chairs 
had become quite abundant in New England. In 
Boston, the average number for thirty-nine consecu- 
tive inventories in which the number of chairs is 
mentioned, from 169S to 1701, is about nineteen. 
The lowest number is four, the highest seventy-two ; 
two estates show forty each, one forty-two, and an- 
other fifty-one. The leather, Turkey wrought, and 
flag-bottomed chairs still appear in the inventories, 
but began to be made with higher backs in accord- 
ance with the fashion then prevailing in Europe. 

In Boston cane chairs in sets of from six to twelve 
began to appear in lists of household furniture as 
early as 16S9. They became very fashionable and 
with cane couches en suite continued in favor till 
about the middle of the eighteenth century. The 
finest examples were richly turned and carved, and 
had tall and stately backs. Some interesting facts 
relating to these chairs are here given from their 
original sources - : — 

" Six Cane Chairs, £2. 8." — Inventory of Giles 
Masters, Boston, 1688-89. 

"Six Kane back chares & six bas chares, £3. 10." 
— Inventory of John Ragland, Boston, 1691. 



1 54 CHAIRS 

" In the Lower Roome, To 6 Cane chears, £$. 2." 

— Inventory of Thomas Pemberton, Boston, 1693. 
"13 Caine Chaires, £6." — Inventory of Daniel 

Royse, merchant, Boston, 1693. 

"In the Hall, One doz: of cane chairs, /i2."-r 
Inventory of Capt. John Ware, mariner, Boston, 
1694-95. 

" In the Chamber over the great Hall, One doz : 
of Lackerd Kane Chaires, ^"12." — Inventory of 
Captain Andrew Craty, Marblehead, 1695. 

"In the Hall, 12 cane chaires and 1 couch, £7." 

" In the Hall Chamber, 1 looking glass and twelve 
Cane Chairs and Squabb, ^iS." — Inventory of Sir 
William Phips, Boston, 1696. 

" In the Parlour, A Cane Couch and Squab, £3" 

— Inventory of Peter Butler, mariner, Boston, 1699. 
" 7 cane chairs 1 couch & squab." — Inventory of 

Sarah Harris, widow, Boston, 1702. 

" In y e Dining-Room & Chamber, 1 doz Cane 
Chairs Black frames, at 16/, £9. 12." 

" 1 Couch Ditto, £2." 

"6 Cane Chairs w th Carved frames oak, £\. 4." — 
Inventory of Joseph Pulsifer, mariner, Boston, 171 2. 

"6 Leather Chairs with Cain backs, £2," — In- 
ventory of George Worthylake, mariner, Boston, 
1718. 

"3 Cain back Chairs w* bass bottoms, 9 s." — In- 
ventory of Thomas Gilbert, innholder, Boston, 1718- 
19. 




Fig. 60 

RUBENS'S CHAIR 

Dated 1 633 



CHAIRS 155 

Very fine examples of the cane chairs in use in 
New England at the close of the seventeenth century 
and in the beginning of the eighteenth are shown in 
our next four illustrations. 

The first (Fig. 65) belongs to Mrs. Thomas G. 
Talcott, of Hartford, having descended to her late 
husband from one of his Wyllys ancestors. Several 
other chairs of the same set are preserved in the hall 
of the Connecticut Historical Society of Hartford. 
The second (Fig. 66), which serves as the frontis- 
piece to this book, is owned by W. A. M. Wain- 
wright, M. D., of Hartford, Conn. It belonged to 
his father, Bishop Jonathan Mayhew Wainwright, to 
whom it had come from the Mayhew family in Mar- 
tha's Vineyard. Its original seat was of cane. The 
third and fourth (Figs. 67 and 68) are in the Hosmer 
collection. According to their history they were 
part of the household furniture of Richard Lord, of 
Hartford, Conn., who died in the year 171 2. 

Cane chairs are mentioned in the inventory of 
Christopher Taylor, of Philadelphia, April 4, 1686. 
The item is, " 5 Caine Chaires at 9 s., £2. 5." 

It is difficult to determine when cane began to be 
used for the seats and backs of chairs in Europe. 
In the opinion of Mr. George T. Robinson it was 
introduced into England with the Indo-Portuguese 
furniture, which came from Portugal with Catharine 
of Braganza, the wife of Charles II. Mr. Robinson 



156 CHAIRS 

says that " Charles made presents of the richly carved 
ebony chairs and divans or couches which the new 
fashion brought in to many of his friends and adher- 
ents," and cites as an example the chair now in the 
Ashmolean Museum at Oxford, said to have been 
given by the king to John Evelyn, it originally hav- 
ing had a cane seat. 

The earliest record of cane chairs in England that 
we have found is contained in the following items 
from the inventory of Elizabeth Throckmorton, of 
the Parish of St. Margaret, Westminster, dated De- 
cember 8, 1679: — 

" Dining room, 2 cane chairs, 5 s." 

" My lady's chamber, 2 cane bottom chairs, 5 s." 

In the " London Gazette," April 16-19, ^94, 
" John Home, living at the Cane Chair in Drury- 
Lane," advertises for a stolen horse. 

In the inventory of John Hodson, gentleman, re- 
corded in New Haven in 171 1, "Six high backed 
Leather Chaires at 15/" each are mentioned. Just 
the type of these chairs it would now be very hard 
to tell, but it is not at all improbable that they were 
similar to the chair represented in Fig. 69. This 
chair was lately bought in Windsor, Conn., from a 
family in which it had been owned through several 
generations. The feet were missing and have been 
restored. The leather seat and back are also new. 
The top of its back between the posts is twenty-four 



CHAIRS 157 

and one half inches from the frame of the seat, and 
forty-three and one quarter inches from the floor. 
It is now the property of Mr. Edwin Simons, of 
Hartford, Conn. 

It is held in England by some of the best students 
of old furniture that high-backed leather chairs, like 
this, date back to the time of Cromwell. In his ad- 
mirable papers in " The Art Journal," already cited, 
Mr. Robinson, in writing of furniture at the begin- 
ning of the reign of Charles II., says : — 

"The low-relief carving, partly perforated, which had always 
played so large a part in Eastern Art, was also seized upon with 
avidity ; and though the low-backed divans and the chairs made 
to agree with them did not quite accord with the ideas then pre- 
vailing in England, yet a similar character of decoration was 
immediately applied to them. It is indeed curious to note that 
although both in France and Holland, whence most of our fash- 
ions in furniture were derived, the height of the chair back was 
gradually being reduced, yet in England the mediaeval feeling in 
favour of the high-backed chair seemed to be too strong to be in- 
fluenced even by fashion. The visible proportions of the old 
friend of the fireside were retained, and only in its mass of 
construction and its ornamentation did it undergo a radical 
change." 

There are those, on the other hand, who do not 
fully agree to this early date for these chairs, but 
who are inclined to the opinion that they made their 
appearance toward the close of the century, when it 
became the fashion to make chairs of many kinds 
higher in the back than formerly. 



158 CHAIRS 

In favor of an early date for high-backed chairs 
are the following facts : — 

That while the most of the chairs in Abraham 
Bosse's plates are low in the back, there are a few in 
a plate dated 1633, whose backs are as high as the 
shoulders of the men seated in them. This, by care- 
ful measurement and calculation, is found to be 
about twenty-four inches. 

That some of the early wainscot chairs had high 
backs. This is the case with the " scrowled " chair 
illustrated by Mr. Robinson, in " The Art Journal," 
August, 1881, and also with the chair dated 1652, in 
the Old South Church, in Boston, to which we have 
already referred. The back of this chair rises thirty- 
one and one half inches above its seat, and forty-six 
and one eighth inches above the floor. 

That " hisrh chairs " are sometimes mentioned in 
the inventories of the seventeenth century in this 
country and in England. Thus, among others, may 
be cited the " 12 Leather chaires 6 Low & 6 high," 
found in the inventory of Henry Webb, made in 
Boston in 1660, and the "2 high leder chayers " in 
the inventory of John Brackett of the same place, 
made in 1666-67. 

In England, in the inventory of Thomas Child, 
gentleman, of Abbot's Langley, County of Herts, 
made February 4, 1642-43, we find the items, "11 
high chairs Turky work," " 2 low chairs," " 4 high 



CHAIRS 1 59 

chairs, 2 low chairs;" and in the inventory of Tim- 
othy Cotes, of the Parish of St. Margaret, Westmin- 
ster, made October 29, 1667, we find in the " Low 
Room, 4 high chairs, 3 low chairs," and in the " High 
Chamber, 7 high chairs, 2 low chairs." 

That in the inventory of Captain William Tyng, 
of Boston, merchant, made in 1653, high-backed chairs 
are mentioned. The record is as follows : " In the 
Hall of the dwelling house at Boston, 1 great greine 
chaire & 6 high backe chaires & 2 loe backe stooles 
all greine and 2 turky worke high backe chaires & 
1 old greine elboe chaire all cased, £6. o. o." This 
is the only mention of high-backed chairs that we 
have noted in the inventories prior to the year 1 709 ; 
after this date they are frequently found in the New 
England records. 

The high chairs mentioned in the third proposi- 
tion were not necessarily high-backed chairs. " High 
stools " are frequently met with in the inventories of 
the same period, and sometimes in the same inven- 
tory with high chairs, making the inference perfectly 
natural and legitimate that the expression high ap- 
plied to these chairs referred to the elevation of their 
seats rather than to that of their backs. 

The chairs cited from the inventory of William 
Tyng had, in all probability, stuffed seats and backs, 
as eight were green, two were of Turkey work, and 
all were cased. But as the words high and low are 



160 CHAIRS 

relative terms there is no certainty that the backs of 
the eight " high backe chaires " were very high, or, 
indeed, that they were much higher than those of 
the " 2 loe backe stooles." The backs of the two 
Turkey work chairs illustrated in this chapter are 
sixteen and three quarters and twenty -four inches 
high respectively. If these two chairs had belonged 
to William Tyng's estate the difference between them 
might have been very well expressed by inventorying 
the first as a low-backed, and the other as a high- 
backed chair. 

Allowing for these possibilities we have remaining 
the facts that wainscot chairs at the middle of the 
seventeenth century were made with backs thirty-one 
and a half inches high, and that Abraham Bosses 
chairs in 1633 had backs about two feet high, the 
same as the Turkey work chair shown in Fig. 64, 
made probably somewhere between 1650 and 1680. 
There appear, therefore, to be no historical objec- 
tions to the belief that leather chairs as high in the 
back as the one shown in Fig. 69 were made in 
England in the time of Cromwell, or even earlier in 
the century. 

But we are here confronted with another difficulty. 
The division of the back of this chair into a middle 
portion, with spaces on each side, is a style which is 
supposed to belong later in the century, and is often 
seen in cane chairs. Backs of this description are 




I 





CHAIRS 161 

not found on the chairs painted by the Dutch and 
Flemish masters from 1650 to 1680, and this, with 
the fact that the Dutch and Flemish chairs of this 
period are seldom as high in the back as twenty-four 
and a half inches, is sufficient to cast doubt on the 
existence of such chairs in England during the Com- 
monwealth. 

A high-backed leather chair, somewhat different 
from the preceding, is shown in Fig. 70. This style 
probably made its appearance in England in the 
reign of William and Mary, and in this country 
about ten years later. The frame is maple. The 
hight of the back is forty-five and five eighths inches 
from the floor. The leather covering is the original. 
This chair belongs to the Hosmer collection. 

Bandy-legged chairs began to be used in New 
England early in the eighteenth century. Some of 
the older examples have leather backs, like the one 
shown in the last illustration. .But the regulation 
back, so to speak, for these chairs is here shown 
(Fig. 71). Toward the middle of the century they 
were sometimes made with ball and claw feet, and 
with more or less carving. Seven chairs with " Eagles 
foot & shell on the Knee " are found in the inventory 
of Theodore Wheelwright, upholsterer, made in Bos- 
ton in 1750. A chair in the Hosmer collection, an- 
swering very well to this description, is shown in 
Fig. 72. It is made of black walnut and was bought 



1 62 CHAIRS 

a few years since in Hartford, Conn. The bandy- 
legged style was introduced into England from Hol- 
land by William and Mary when they ascended the 
English throne. 

In the summer of 1881 Mr. George T. Robinson 
expressed to us his opinion that the bandy-shaped 
leg was of Chinese origin, and in support of this view 
showed us in his house in London a Chinese vessel 
with bandy legs, which he considered an antique. 

Prompted by this suggestion we have sought fur- 
ther information on this point, and through the kind- 
ness of Yung Wing, LL. D., late assistant minister 
from China to the United States, we are enabled to 
state that the bandy leg, moderately crooked, with the 
ball and claw foot, was in use in China in the Chow 
dynasty, 1122-254 B - c -> an d that the bandy leg with 
the typical crook and with the ball and claw foot, as 
represented in Fig. 73, was in use in China as early 
as 254 a. d. The claw and ball represent the claw 
of the Dragon clasping the pearl. 

This illustration and these facts are taken from 
the Chinese work entitled " Hwang Chao Li Khi 
Tu Shih," or " Drawings and Descriptions of Imple- 
ments and Equipages of the present Imperial Dy- 
nasty," published under Imperial order in Peking. 
Preface of the work written by His Chinese Imperial 
Majesty, Kien Lung, July, 1819. 

Such pieces as the Bernward candelabrum in St. 




Fig. 65 

CANE CHAIR 

Late seventeenth or early eighteenth century 



CHAIRS 163 

Magdalene's Church at Hildesheim, and the Roman- 
esque candelabrum in the Musee de Cluny, in Paris, 
show that the bandy leg was in use in Europe in 
the Middle Ages. It is, however, highly probably 
that the fashion of bandy legs for furniture, which 
started up in Europe in the seventeenth century, was 
a recent importation from the Orient. 

In the inventory of Benjamin Ivory, of Boston, 
made in 1737, "6 Crowfoot chairs" are mentioned. 
This is the first reference to the ball and claw foot 
that we have found in the New England records. 
The Dutch marquetry chairs, which were to be seen 
in the state dressing-room at Chats worth in 1881, 
had small ball and claw feet. Such chairs date back 
to the reign of Queen Anne, which is, perhaps, about 
the time when the ball and claw began to be used in 
England. 

We do not remember to have seen the expression 
ball and claw in the American inventories. Besides, 
the "crowfoot" and "eagles foot" chairs above men- 
tioned, we have notes of a mahogany bedstead, a 
large mahogany easy -chair, and a mahogany tea- 
table, each "with eagle claws," found in the inven- 
tory, made in June, 1758, of Abraham Lodge, Es- 
quire, attorney at law, of New York city. Mahogany 
high cases of drawers, " with crown and claws," are 
mentioned in the table of prices for joiners' work in 
Providence, R. I., in 1757, published in the Appendix 
to these chapters. 



1 64 CHAIRS 

In Fig. 74 is shown one of the descendants of the 
style represented in Figs. 57 and 58 of this chapter. 
The greater elevation of the back was the principal 
change that this family of chairs underwent at the 
close of the seventeenth or in the beginning of the 
eighteenth century, when they began to be desig- 
nated in the inventories by the number of horizon- 
tal pieces in their backs, which were from two to five 
and sometimes, though very rarely, six. Those with 
two slats were called " two back " chairs, those with 
three slats, " three back," and so on. A few extracts 
from the records referring to these chairs are here 



*o 



" To 6 forebacke chairs, 12 s." — Inventory of John 
Goodwin, Jr., carpenter, Boston, 1 707. 

" 6 Flagg Chairs, 3 backs at 1/4, 8 s." 

"6 ditto white, 2 backs at 1/8, 10 s." 

"6 ditto, 4 backs, 18 s." — Inventory of George 
Worthylake, mariner, Boston, 17 18. 

" 6 Chares with 5 backs." 

" 16 Chairs, 2 backs." — Inventory of Josiah Mount- 
joy, innholder, Boston, 17 19. 

"i Doz of five Back Cheairs, 3/6, £1. 1 s." — In- 
ventory of Ephraim Wheeler, feltmaker, Boston, 
1721-22. 

"Three Bla: 6 backt Chairs at 6/, 18 s."— Inven- 
tory of Mary Walker, Boston, 1735. 

These chairs were made of the harder woods, such 




Fig. 67 

CANE CHAIR 

Late seventeenth or early eighteenth century 



CHAIRS 165 

as maple, hickory, and beech, were admirably put 
together, and have been remarkable for their strength 
and durability. 

Another style much in vogue in the last century 
is shown in Fig. 75. They were made, some with 
three, others with four vertical pieces in their backs. 
These pieces were usually turned on one side and 
flat on the other, and were put in, sometimes with 
the flat, but perhaps oftener with the turned surface 
to the front. Sometimes they were not turned at 
all, but were flat on both sides, with their fronts 
either plain or a little grooved. They were called 
in their day "banister back," "split back," "slit back," 
and sometimes "slat back" chairs. 

The earliest reference to these chairs that we have 
found in our records is in 1727. It is quite possible, 
however, from the altitude of their backs, and because 
they are supposed to date from the beginning of the 
century in England, that they began to be used here 
some time before their first appearance in the inven- 
tories. From many references to these chairs in the 
records the following items have been selected as 
representative : — 

" In the Parlour, 23 Leather Chairs, Banister 
Backs, £§. 1." — Inventory of Thomas Selby, " Tav- 
enor," Boston, 1727. 

" Fore flat Backt Chares : 10/ & six slett Back 
Ditto, 30/." — Inventory of David Eustis, mariner, 
Boston, 1 731. 



1 66 CHAIRS 

"9 Split Back Chaires, £2. 14, 6 Four Back Do., 
£1. 10." — Inventory of Caleb Winchester, mason, 
Boston, 1736. 

" In the West Room, 6 slitt back Chairs carv d tops 
flagg bottoms, £1. 10." — Inventory of Sampson 
Mason, " Glasyer," Boston, 1738. 

" In the Hall, Six Slat bannister Chairs, 66/." — 
Inventory of Stephen Trowbridge, New Haven, 1744. 

" 5: 3 banister back Chairs, 20/." 

" 1 arm 4 back d°, 10/." — Inventory of Jonathan 
Gatchell, shipwright, Boston, 1745-46. 

" 6 Split Bannester Black Back Chairs, 1 1 s." — 
Inventory of Mary Bennett, Boston, 1 75 1. 

Easy chairs began to appear in the New England 
lists of household furniture early in the eighteenth 
century. They were part of the bedroom furniture 
of wealthy people, and were sometimes covered with 
the same stuff as that of which the bed and window 
curtains were made. The cost of the cloth and the 
large amount required to cover these great chairs 
will help to explain the relatively high figures at 
which some of them were apprized. 

It is believed by the best English and Flemish 
connoisseurs that chairs of this style sprang up in 
Europe in the last years of the seventeenth century, 
— by some that they were of Dutch, by others, that 
they were of French origin. They remained in use 
till the close of the eighteenth century. Heppel- 



CHAIRS 167 

white published a design for one as late as 1787, and 
in his text referred to it as an " easy chair," and also 
as a " saddle cheek chair." 

Good specimens of this style are by no means un- 
common in New England. In Fig. 76 is shown one 
belonging to the writer that was bought a few years 
ago from a dealer in North Beverly, Mass., who had 
picked it up in the neighborhood. 

The following items descriptive of these chairs 
have been selected from original sources : — 

" In the next Chamber [to the " Great Cham- 
ber"], An Easy Chair, £1." — Inventory of John 
Rainsford, mariner, Boston, 171 2-1 3. 

" In Chamber, 1 Easy chair, ,£4." — Inventory of 
Adam Beath, Boston, 1 716-17. 

" In the Front Chamber, 1 fine Green Camblet 
Bed Curtains & silk Quilt, ,£15." 

"A large Silk easy Chair, ,£10." — Inventory of 
Henry Franklin, merchant, Boston, 1725. 

" In the Great Chamber, 1 New Coach Bed green 
Cheney, ^"30. 1 Easey Chair Ditto, £nT — Inven- 
tory of James Pecker, wharfinger, Boston, 1734. 

" In the Front Chamber, 1 Red China Easey Chair 
Broken, ^"5." — Inventory of Captain Edward Pell, 
painter, Boston, 1737. 

" In ye Hall Chamber, 1 Easy chair w th Calico 
covering, £8." — Inventory of Captain John Welland, 
distiller, Boston, 1737. 



1 68 CHAIRS 

" In the best Chamber, i Green China Easie Chair, 
^10." — Inventory of James Townsend, wine cooper, 
Boston, 1738. 

" In the Front Chamber, 1 Harrateen Easey Chair, 
^"10." " 1 Cornish Bed, Harrateen Curtains, Head- 
cloth Teaster, &c, ,£30." — Inventory of Captain 
John Hill, mariner, Boston, 1739. 

" An Easey Harrateene chaire, £20." — Inventory 
of John Dennie, merchant, Boston, 1 748. 

" In Front Chamber, 1 Red Easy Chair, £$. 6. 8. 
Suet of red curtains & rods, £2. 8." — Inventory of 
John Proctor, innholder, Boston, 1756. 

The first appearance of " round about chairs " in 
the New England inventories, of which one can feel 
reasonably certain, is in 1738. They are recorded 
under quite a variety of names of which the following 
are the principal, namely : " round chair," " three- 
cornered chair," " triangle chair," " round about 
chair," " half round chair." But of all these and sim- 
ilar designations, the one the most frequently met 
with is the fourth, namely, " round about chair." 

They were made, some very plain and cheap, of 
the commoner woods, with flag bottoms : others 
much better, of black walnut, mahogany, or cherry, 
with leather or cloth-covered seats, while occasionally 
a specimen is found quite elaborately finished with 
carving, ball and claw feet, and fenestrated panels 
after the style of Chippendale. Sometimes, though 




Fig. 68 

CANE CHAIR 

Late seventeenth or early eighteenth century 



CHAIRS 169 

rarely, one is seen with a piece rising from its back 
as far above the arms as these are above the seat. 
This back piece is in open work, and gives to such 
chairs a very picturesque appearance. 

Roundabout chairs were desirable as comfortable 
armchairs for daily use, and as quaint pieces of « 
furniture. Some specimens were designed for in- 
valid chairs, and these had the upper part of the 
space beneath the seat inclosed. There are those in 
England who are inclined to think that chairs of 
this style sprang up there as early as the time of 
Queen Anne. 

A roundabout chair of very good pattern, belong- 
ing to Mr. William G. Boardman, of Hartford, is 
represented in Fig. 77. 

In 1 748, " 6 mehogeny chairs " belonging to the 
estate of John Dennie, of Boston, were inventoried 
at £^2 in the paper money of the day. These are 
the first mahogany chairs that we have found in the 
Boston records. A mahogany table is mentioned in 
the inventory of Captain John White made in Bos- 
ton, March 20, 1731-32, and this is the earliest date 
for mahogany in New England of which we have 
knowledge. After 1732 mahogany furniture is men- 
tioned in our inventories with increasing frequency. 

Let us return to the six mahogany chairs and in- 
quire concerning their style. Could they have been 
Chippendale chairs ? 



I70 CHAIRS 

Chippendale's earliest plates are dated 1753. If 
we add to this the time required for a new fashion to 
cross the Atlantic it will appear quite improbable 
that these chairs were made by Chippendale or after 
his style, even if we suppose that he was established 
in business and in reputation for several years prior 
to the date of his first designs. 

There is, however, scarcely any doubt that the ele- 
gant style of Chippendale found its way to this 
country within ten years after the publication of his 
first plates, so that the " ten mahogany chairs with 
yellow bottoms," which we find valued at £16 in 
1759 in the estate of Charles Apthorp, of Boston, 
may very well have been Chippendale chairs. 

The Chippendale chairs found in New England 
are almost invariably those with openwork backs of 
various patterns, with interlacing lines which some- 
times remind us of the flowing tracery in the heads 
of decorated Gothic windows. They are usually 
plain or a very little carved, but sometimes the carv- 
ing is more elaborate and extensive. His Chinese 
chairs and chairs with " ribbon backs " are very sel- 
dom seen in this country. 

The beautiful chair backs of Chippendale were 
developed from the solid wooden piece which, in 
connection with the chair shown in Fig. 71, we have 
described as the regulation back of the bandy-legged 
Dutch chairs. The first departure from this old 



v i ~x v » s f J/ 




\> r^ 


x t 


til 




111 


Is'*, 


III 


Is'*, 




p 


^ El 


i r $ 





Fig. 69 

HIGH-BACKED LEATHER CHAIR 

Late seventeenth or early eighteenth century 



CHAIRS 1/1 

form was a single perforation of this back piece with 
a heart, or, perhaps, a diamond -shaped opening. 
Such chairs are occasionally seen. Next, the back 
was widened and two or more openings made. It 
was from the hints afforded by these primitive fenes- 
trations that Chippendale worked out the fanciful 
designs that characterize the backs of his chairs. 

Many of the older examples of these chairs were 
made in New England of black walnut; later the 
wild cherry was much employed. The seats were 
covered, as in England, with leather, silks, and other 
rich stuffs, and after 1770 "black horse hair " was 
added to the list. " A Sopha " covered with this 
material was inventoried in the estate of Nathaniel 
Rogers, of Boston, in the year last mentioned. 
They remained in fashion here down to the arrival 
of Heppelwhite's chairs, which, as we shall see, took 
place in the last decade of the century. The writer 
is familiar with a set of Chippendale chairs with ball 
and claw feet made by Eliphalet Chapin, of South 
Windsor, Conn., as late as the year 1781. The price 
paid for them at that time was £1 apiece. 

We show here three chairs and a double chair or 
settee, after the style of Chippendale. The first, 
Fig. j8, is one of the set of the well-known chairs in 
daily use in the library of Yale College. They are 
made of mahogany, and with them is preserved the 
story that they were brought from England to Bos- 



172 CHAIRS 

ton by Governor William Burnet, in 1727, and that 
after his death, in 1729, they became the property 
of his successor, who owned them till his death in 

t757- 

They are very beautiful examples of the style now 
known as Chippendale's, and there is scarcely any- 
thing about them to criticise, except their reputed 
age. The date of Chippendale's first designs is 1753, 
and though it is possible that such chairs were made 
somewhat before this time, yet we have no authority 
for the belief that they were so made. The probabil- 
ities are, therefore, very great that these chairs were 
not manufactured till after the middle of the eight- 
eenth century. 

The second, Fig. 79, which is about as old as the 
preceding, is made of mahogany, and now belongs to 
the writer. It is one of six chairs formerly owned 
in Hartford, Conn. Mr. Edwin Simons of that city, 
who also has one of the set, can remember them as 
far back as fifty years. 

Chippendale chairs with straight legs in front, and 
with backs resembling the one shown in Fig. 80, are 
those the oftenest seen in New England, and, we 
believe, elsewhere in the older parts of this country. 
This chair was lately picked up in Middlesex County, 
Conn. It is made of mahogany, and belongs to the 
Hosmer collection. 

The beautiful double chair, represented in Fig. 8i, 




Fig. 70 

HIGH-BACKED LEATHER CHAIR 

Late seventeenth or early eighteenth century 



CHAIRS 173 

is the property of the American Antiquarian Society 
at Worcester, Mass. It is said to have been part of 
the household furniture of Governor John Hancock. 
It was presented to the Society in July, 1838, by 
John Chandler, Esq., of Petersham, Mass. Double 
Chippendale chairs are very rare, in this country, at 
least. One in England, belonp-ino- to Lord Dover, 
is illustrated in " The Magazine of Art " for October, 
1881. 

While the name of Chippendale is now known to 
collectors and to many other people all over the civ- 
ilized world, but little has yet been gathered of his 
personal history. That little, however, is interesting 
and is here given. 

In his Introduction to the "Ancient and Modern 
Furniture and Woodwork in the South Kensington 
Museum," London, 1874, Mr. John Hungerford Pol- 
len says : — 

" In England we had, about the middle of the century, a 
school of carvers, gilders, and ornamenters following the extrava- 
gant style of the French. The most prominent name in this field 
is that of Thomas Chippendale. He worked from the middle 
till towards the end of the century. He was descended from a 
family of carvers, and inherited the skill which had been general 
in his craft since the days of Gibbons," (p. cxlv.) "The dates 
of his birth and death are not known. . . . Thomas Chippendale 
was son and father of furniture makers. A collection of Chip- 
pendale's unpublished designs is extant in the hands of a private 
collector," (p. ccxxii.) 



174 CHAIRS 

Mr. Robinson, in " The Art Journal," December, 
1881, says: — 

" Foremost amongst these establishers of a British style of 
furniture was Thomas Chippendale, of St. Martin's Lane, a fanci- 
ful artist, an excellent workman, and especially an excellent chair- 
maker. 

" Of course he did not create the style which now bears his 
name ; no one man ever does create a style. The style rather 
creates the man who ultimately governs it. Thomas Chippen- 
dale the chairmaker was begotten of the times and born in the 
craft, for his father had distinguished himself as a cabinet-maker 
before him, and St. Martin's Lane was then the head-quarters of 
Art in London. It was there the Royal Academy was born, and 
it was, in fact, the nursery of English Art, so Chippendale lived 
in the very center of the youthful movement." 

Chippendale's earliest plates are dated, as has 
already been said, in 1753, and the first edition of 
his book, entitled " The Gentleman's and Cabinet- 
Maker's Director," was published in 1754. On the 
title-page of "the third edition," dated 1762, he styles 
himself " Cabinet - Maker and Upholsterer, in St. 
Martin's Lane, London," and mentions, besides two 
places in the Strand, that the book is to be " sold at 
his House, in St. Martin's Lane." His residence 
and shop were, therefore, both in St. Martin's Lane. 

The name " Thomas Chippendale, Upholsterer, 60 
St. Martin's-lane," is found in the list of the " Master 
Cabinet-Makers, Upholsterers, and Chair Makers, in 
and about London, for 1803," appended to "The 




Fir,. 71 

DUTCH BANDY-LEGGED CHAIR 

Early eighteenth century 



CHAIRS 175 

Cabinet Dictionary," by Thomas Sheraton, London, 
1803. This is the only Chippendale found in the list, 
and he was probably a son of the famous cabinet- 
maker. 

It is interesting to note that the name Chippen- 
dale does not appear in the inventories in connection 
with furniture. No Chippendale chairs, or tables, or 
other objects, are mentioned in these records. The 
principal explanation of this lies in the fact pointed 
out by Mr. Robinson, that Chippendale was not the 
creator of the style that now bears his name. He 
was certainly one of the most able and skillful makers 
and designers of his time ; but there were so many 
clever cotempdraries working on the same lines and 
in the same style that probably nobody in London 
thought of calling it by Chippendale's name. But 
after the lapse of a century, when this style had 
become historic, and specimens of it were eagerly 
sought by collectors, it received the name of the 
maker who had published and left behind him its 
best designs. While, therefore, Chippendale was one 
of the ablest, perhaps the ablest, exponent of the 
fashion that prevailed in his early manhood, it is not 
at all improbable that his greatest reputation was 
posthumous, and not reached till after the style which 
he did so much to elaborate had finally received his 
name. 

"One Windsor Chair" is mentioned in the inven- 



176 CHAIRS 

tory of Hannah Hodge, widow, of Philadelphia, taken 
the 7th day of July, 1736. This is the earliest date 
for the Windsor chair that we have yet discovered. 
We also find in the inventory of Governor Patrick 
Gordon, of Philadelphia, the item, " Five Windsor 
Chairs @ 11/6, £2. 17. 6." The inventory is not 
dated, but he died August 5, 1736, and his will was 
proved August 17, 1736. After 1736 Windsor chairs 
are occasionally met with in the Philadelphia inven- 
tories, one, and sometimes two, in an estate, till we 
reach the inventory, dated March 5, 1757, of Lloyd 
Zachary, " Practitioner in Physick," in Philadelphia, 
who had " in the Parlor," " at the Plantation," " Ten 
Windsor Arm Chairs." On Thursday, June 21, 
1764, " a parcel of Windsor chairs " is mentioned in 
a list of household furniture advertised for sale in 
" The Pennsylvania Journal and Weekly Advertiser." 
From these two facts — that in 1757 ten Windsor 
chairs were found in one estate, and that in 1764 "a 
parcel of Windsor chairs " was to be sold at public 
auction — it is evident that these chairs had become 
sufficiently numerous in Philadelphia to be at least 
well known, if not common. 

The following advertisement with a cut of a Wind- 
sor chair appears in " The New- York Gazette, or The 
Weekly Post-Boy," April 18, 1765: — 

" To be Sold By Andrew Gauteir, In Princes-Street, Opposite 
Mr. David Provoost's in Broadstreet ; A Large and neat Assort- 



CHAIRS 177 

ment of Windsor Chairs, made in the best and neatest Manner, 
and well painted, Viz, High back'd, low back'd and Sackback'd 
Chairs and Settees, or double seated, fit for Piazza or Gardens. 
. . . Children's dining and low Chairs, &c. 

" N. B. As the above Gauteir intends constantly to keep a 
large Number of all Sorts of the above Chairs by him for Sale, 
all Persons wanting such, may depend on being supplied with 
any Quantity, Wholesale or Retail, at reasonable Rates." 

Andrew Gauteir probably made the Windsor chairs 
that he sold, as he was a joiner who had doubtless 
learned his trade in New York City, where he was 
born in 1720, and died in 1784. He was a grandson 
of Jacques Gauteir, a Huguenot, who emigrated to 
this country shortly after the revocation of the edict 
of Nantes. 

The earliest date for Windsor chairs in New York 
City that we have found is June 8, 1758, when "4 
high back winsor chairs, In the Entery," were re- 
corded in the inventory of Abraham Lodge, attorney 
at law. It is probable that they made their appear- 
ance there somewhat before this time, but we have 
failed to find them mentioned in the very few early 
inventories of New York City that are preserved in 
the Surrogate's office in New York, and in the office 
of the Clerk of the Court of Appeals in Albany. 

The fashion of Windsor chairs now spread very 
rapidly. They were advertised by name in the news- 
papers of the day in a manner altogether unprece- 



178 CHAIRS 

dented, and, judging from the great numbers yet in 
existence, became very popular. They were made in 
various styles, as will appear from the descriptions 
left by the dealers, and the examples that we shall 
illustrate. They were much more comfortable to sit 
in than the old-fashioned " two to five-backed " and 
" banister " chairs, which they largely superseded for 
common every-day use. 

" Windsor chair plank " was advertised for sale in 
Philadelphia, by Samuel Williams, joiner, in the 
"Pennsylvania Chronicle," June 11 to June 18, 1770. 

In " The Pennsylvania Journal," November 24, 
1773, and subsequently, Jedidiah Snowden informs 
the public that he "has removed from his late dwell- 
ing-house in Market-Street to the West side of Front- 
Street, opposite Hamiltons wharf, where he carries 
on his business of Cabinet and Windsor Chair-Mak- 
ins:, and sells them at the most reasonable rates." 

The manufacture of Windsor chairs, which in this 
country seems to have started in Philadelphia, did 
not reach Boston, according to our investigations, 
till 1786, although Windsor chairs are occasionally 
mentioned in the records and in the newspapers 
before that date. In 1769 two Windsor chairs are 
apprized at six shillings each in the inventory of 
Captain Daniel Malcom, of Boston, and in 1773, 
" 2 painted Windsor Chairs," at ten shillings, in the 
inventory of Mr. Samuel Parker, merchant, of Boston. 




Fig. 72 
BANDY-LEGGED CHAIR WITH BALL AND CLAW FEET 



CHAIRS 179 

The following advertisement first appears in " The 
Independent Chronicle," of Boston, April 13, 1786, 
with woodcuts of two Windsor chairs of different 
patterns : — 

" Warranted Green Windsor Chairs, may be had at Ebenezer 
Stone's Shop, on Moore's Wharf, North-End, opposite Dr. Clark's, 
Where is made, and for Sale, at a low Price, Round-Top chairs, 
fan-back Garden-chairs, Soffas, stuff-seat Chairs, and a large As- 
sortment of Dining-Chairs, painted equally as well as those made 
at Philadelphia." 

As the closing sentence in this advertisement im- 
plies some knowledge on the part of the public to 
which it was addressed of Windsor chairs made and 
painted in Philadelphia, it is not at all unlikely that 
such chairs were then selling in the Boston market, 
and it may be that the " large assortment of Elegant 
Windsor chairs " advertised for sale at " Messrs. 
Skillin's Carver's Shop, near Governor Hancock's 
wharf," in " The Independent Chronicle," December 
29, 1785, were chairs that had been shipped from 
Philadelphia. 

The first mention of these chairs in Hartford, 
Conn., that we have found, is in an advertisement in 
the "Connecticut Courant," January 30, 1786, which 
reads as follows : — 

"Windsor Chairs. 

" Stacy Stackhouse, From New-York, Informs the Public, that 
he has established his business in this City; where he makes 



I So CHAIRS 

and sells all sorts of Windsor Chairs in the neatest manner, and 
on the lowest terms. From the great demand for this kind of 
manufacture in this State, and the encouragement promised him 
by a number of Gentlemen in this vicinity, he flatters himself 
with the prospect of a large run of business, and promises every 
attention to deserve the favours of the Public." 

In the " Courant," June 25, 1787, he "informs the 
public, that he continues to make Windsor Chairs, 
in the best manner, at his House a little north of the 
State House in Hartford — Those Ladies or Gentle- 
men who will please to favor him with their Custom, 
may depend on having their work done in the gen- 
teelest manner, and on as reasonable terms for pay 
in hand, as in New-York." Mr. Stackhouse returned 
to New York about 1795. 

In " The New-Haven Gazette and the Connecti- 
cut Magazine," February 22, 17S7, under a cut of a 
Windsor chair, " Alpheus Hews, from New-Jersey, 
begs leave to inform his friends and the public in 
general that he carries on the business of Windsor 
Chair Making in Chapel St. in New Haven, where 
may be had any Number of Windsor Settees, and 
Garden Chairs, made in the neatest manner and dif- 
ferent fashions, also some very convenient for Chil- 
dren." 

In " The United States Chronicle," Providence, 
R. I., July 19, 1787, Daniel Lawrence "informs the 
respectable Public, that he carries on the chairmak- 



m 




^ ir - " 

- , 

-J '■•'." V" 

y\ y fv , 



O 





CI /A IRS iSl 

ing Business, at a Building on the next Lot Eastward 
of the large Three-story Dwelling- House of Dr. 
Amos Throop, in Westminster-street, Providence, a 
few Rods West of the Great Bridge, where he makes 
and sells all Kinds of Windsor Chairs, such as — 
Round-About Chairs, Dining-Chairs, Garden-Chairs, 
also Sofas, Settees, etc, in the newest and best Fash- 
ions, neat, elegant and strong, beautifully painted, 
after the Philadelphia Mode, warranted of good sea- 
soned Materials, so firmly put together as not to 
deceive the Purchasers by an untimely coming to 
Pieces." 

In " The Connecticut Gazette," of New London, 
November 14, 1788, "William Harris, Jun, Windsor 
Chair-Maker, Takes this method to inform the public, 
that he makes all kinds of Windsor Chairs, Settees 
and Writing Chairs." 

Windsor chairs, like clock cases, were doubtless 
made by the local cabinet-maker in almost every 
considerable village. Thus, we find Theodosius 
Parsons, of Scotland, Windham County, Conn., ad- 
vertising in the last-named newspaper, January 30, 
17S9, for a "journeyman to the Windsor Chair and 
Cabinet business." 

The fashion of Windsor chairs had run its course 
by the close of the century, but that they were made 
and sold for many years later is proved by the 
advertisements of John K. Cowperthwaite, and of 



1 82 CHAIRS 

William Brown, Jun., which occur in the " New York 
City Directory" for the year 1818. They are men- 
tioned in the Boston inventories as late as 1820, and 
perhaps later. 

Where the Windsor chair originated, and how it 
received its name, are interesting questions. There 
is a tradition in London that the first chair of the 
kind was discovered by George III., in a shepherd's 
hut in Windsor, near the Castle, the shepherd hav- 
ing made much of it with his pocket knife. The 
king, who was fond of quaint and curious things, 
liked the chair so much that he had others made 
after its pattern, and thus the style was introduced 
and named. 

If there be truth in this story it will be necessary 
at the present stage of the inquiry to substitute the 
name of George II. for that of his grandson, who 
was not born till after the Windsor chair was chris- 
tened and had reached the Western Hemisphere. 

This tradition, the existence- of old Windsor 
chairs in England, the name, and, we may add, the 
probabilities in the case, are the principal grounds 
for the belief in their English origin. 

No mention of Windsor chairs was found in the 
cursory examination already referred to of the Lon- 
don newspapers down to the year 1765, nor has any 
of the English students of old furniture consulted 
been able to throw any light on the early history of 
these chairs in England. 




Fig. 74 

A FIVE-BACKED CHAIR 

Beginning eighteenth century 



CHAIRS 183 

In the " New York Gazetteer," February 17, 1774, 
we find the following notice : — 

" Thomas Ash, Windsor Chair Maker, at the Corner below St. 
Paul's Church, In the Broad- Way, Makes and sells all kinds of 
Windsor chairs, high and low backs, garden and settees ditto. 
As several hundred pounds have been spent out of this province 
for this article, he hopes the public will encourage the business, 
as they can be had as cheap and good, if not superior to any 
imported ; he has now by him, and intends keeping always a 
large quantity, so that merchants, masters of vessels, and others 
may be supplied upon the shortest notice." 

This advertisement proves that Windsor chairs 
had been imported into New York. It does not, 
however, prove that these imported chairs had come 
from Europe. The different American colonies 
were separate jurisdictions between which jealousies 
and commercial rivalries existed. Chairs which in 
1774 had come from Philadelphia to New York 
would, at that time, be very properly referred to in 
the latter city as " imported " into " this province." 

If the Windsor chair originated in Philadelphia, 
the probabilities would be very great that it had 
taken its name from the chairmaker who designed 
and first made it. But the surname Windsor is not 
found in the records of Philadelphia during the 
seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. 

From the foregoing facts and considerations we 
are inclined to the opinion that the Windsor chair is 
of English origin ; that it was brought to Philadel- 



1 84 CHAIRS 

phia not long before the year 1736, possibly by Gov- 
ernor Patrick Gordon, who arrived in Philadelphia 
from England with the royal commission in 1 726, 
bringing with him, no doubt, his equipage, and much 
of his household furniture, among which at his death 
in 1736 five Windsor chairs were found. 

We show here five Windsor chairs of different 
patterns. The first, Fig. 82, is a very old specimen 
that was picked up by the writer in Lebanon, Conn., 
in 1878. It is of the "high backed" variety. One 
very similar to it is owned by Trinity College at 
Hartford, Conn., where it is used as the President's 
chair. Chairs of this type are very uncommon in 
New England, at least. 

The second, Fig. 83, is the most common and 
widely known of all the Windsor chairs. The han- 
dles of those made in New England are usually 
plain. Several chairs of this style preserved in Car- 
penters' Hall, in Philadelphia, have their handles 
carved as in this specimen. This is probably the 
variety described in Andrew Gauteir's advertisement 
as " sackback'd." 

Another very common variety of this family of 
chairs, sometimes called the " fan backed," is repre- 
sented in Fig. 84. This kind occasionally, though 
rarely, was made with arms. One is shown in Fig. 
85. It was bought a few years ago in Southington, 
Conn., and is owned by the writer. 




Fig. 75 
BANNISTER BACKED CHAIR 

IALF EIGHTEENTH CENTURY 



CHAIRS ■ 1 85 

A chair of very light and graceful construction is 
shown in Fig. 86. These chairs are well known in 
New England, but are not very common at the 
present day. 

The backs of some Windsor chairs are reenforced 
by means of pieces which rise from a projection of 
the seat (Fig. S7). The effect of this arrangement is 
sometimes very agreeable to the eye. 

There are other varieties and modifications of the 
Windsor chair, but the ones here shown are the best 
and most pleasing representatives of the style. 

It was the fashion to paint the Windsor chair 
green. Other colors were used to some extent. 
The chair illustrated in Fig. 86 was yellow when 
found a few years since in North Haven, Conn., and 
a careful examination disclosed the fact that it had 
never been painted a darker hue. 

After Chippendale the next most famous London 
cabinet-maker whose reputation has reached to our 
times was Heppel white. His book of designs was 
published in 17S9, and his styles appeared in New 
England soon afterward. 

Chippendale had trusted for his enrichments 
chiefly to carving, in which he greatly excelled; but 
Heppelwhite, in addition to carving, made extensive 
use of marquetry, painting, and japanning to em- 
bellish his pieces. His inlays were mostly of sat- 
inwood, and such painters as Cipriani and Angelica 



1 86 CHAIRS 

Kauffman were sometimes employed to decorate his 
more elegant productions. 

The Heppelwhite chairs found in New England 
are fairly represented in Figs. 88 and 89. The first 
is one of the set formerly in the senate chamber of 
the old State House at Hartford, Conn. This build- 
ing was first occupied in 1796, about which time 
these chairs were made. They are of Honduras 
mahogany, and their front legs are inlaid with satin- 
wood. This chair, with others of the set, is kept in 
the library of the new State House at Hartford. 

The second chair, Fig. 89, is one of a set of ten 
belonging to Mrs. Thomas G. Talcott, of Hartford. 
She inherited them about thirty years ago from her 
father, William H. Jones, late of New Haven, Conn. 
The set consisted originally of twelve, two of which 
were armchairs. They are made of mahogany, and 
are very fine examples of their style. 

Both these chairs have the shield-shaped back of 
which Heppelwhite was so fond, and by means of 
which his chairs may often be told at a glance. 

At the close of the century the chairs of another 
celebrated London furniture maker, Thomas Shera- 
ton, began to come in use in this country. His book 
of designs was published in 1793. His chair backs 
are usually rectangular in shape, and the front legs 
oftener round than square in section. They were 
made of mahogany mostly, but sometimes of other 



CHAIRS 1 87 

woods painted and gilded. Two examples of his 
style are represented in Figs. 90 and 91. 

The first is Sheraton as to its back, but the front 
legs are Heppelwhite rather than Sheraton in style. 
We have selected this chair for illustration in order 
to say that chairs with Sheraton backs, but with 
legs and stretchers similar to those here seen, are 
oftener met with in New England than those made 
with the typical Sheraton leg. This chair belongs 
to Mr. Edwin Simons, of Hartford. 

The second example is of later design than the 
preceding. It is made of mahogany enriched with 
inlays of lighter colored woods. It belongs to the 
Hosmer collection, and dates from the early part of 
the present century. 

Settles were more or less common in New Eng- 
land in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, 
but good examples are now becoming rare. One 
made in 1 769 for the house of Colonel Samuel Tal- 
cott, of Hartford, Conn., built in that year, is shown 
in Fig. 92. It was made for the kitchen, and the 
panels in its back correspond to those found in the 
woodwork of that apartment. The movable shelf 
attached to the central panel above the seat was in- 
tended for a candle. 

The bottom of this piece has undergone some 
alteration; formerly it was finished plain to the floor. 
The front below was also made to raise on hinges 



1 88 CHAIRS 

to the level of the seat, so that the settle in this con- 
dition could be used as a bed. Bed settles are 
occasionally mentioned in the inventories. In other 
instances the space under the seat was utilized as a 
chest, and sometimes for drawers which slid out and 
back at the front. This settle was exhibited in 
Philadelphia at the Centennial Exposition in 1876. 
Its dimensions are, hight, five feet six inches ; length, 
five feet five and a half inches; width, sixteen and 
three quarters inches. It belongs to Mrs. Thomas 
G. Talcott, of Hartford, Conn. 



'^^'"i*/ 




V 



Fig. 76 

AN EASY CHAIR 
Eighteenth century 



CHAPTER VI. 

TABLES. 

In lists of the household furniture that belonged 
to our early settlers we occasionally find table-boards 
mentioned. The items, " In ye hall, One great 
table bord & forme, 14 s.; One short Table bord, 
2 s.," occur in the inventory of Alice Jones, of Bos- 
ton, made in 1642. Table-boards are also found in 
the inventories of Salem, Mass., and in those of 
Hartford, Conn. They were not numerous. We 
have notes of them as late as 1738. 

" One table bord " is mentioned in the will of 
John Bynley, Minor Canon of Durham, made in 
1 564, and published by the Surtees Society. They 
are not often found in the English inventories that 
have been published. We are informed by Wright, 
in his " Dictionary of Obsolete and Provincial Eng- 
lish," that the expression table-board is of Cornish 
origin. 

Now the Anglo-Saxon name for the dining-table 
was board, derived literally from the upper part of 
the table which, in these early days, was a movable 
board, made up of sufficient length and breadth to 



190 TABLES 

be used, when properly mounted upon trestles, as 
a table for meals. After the repast the table was 
cleared away by first removing the board and then 
its supports. 

This simple method of constructing the dining- 
table with board and trestles is referred to in the 
early part of the eighth century by the Anglo-Saxon 
writer Tahtwin, in a verse quoted by Wright in 
" The Homes of Other Days " (p. 33). 

In process of time this important piece of furni- 
ture received another name. It was no longer called 
a board exclusively, but sometimes a table. How 
early this began we shall doubtless be told in due 
time by Doctor Murray in his great historical Dic- 
tionary now in course of publication. It is certain, 
however, that this new name for the board had be- 
come sufficiently current in the fourteenth century 
to be used to a considerable extent in " Piers the 
Ploughman," and by Chaucer, and in the beginning 
of the fifteenth century it was employed by Lydgate 
in his minor poems published by the Percy Society 
oftener, indeed, than the old word board. 

During the next two centuries the English din- 
ing-table went under one or the other of these two 
names. But we find in the literature of this period, 
as well as in the inventories of household furniture, 
a progressive tendency to use the word table more 
and the word board less, until at length the latter 




Fig. 77 

ROUNDABOUT CHAIR 

1 7SO-'60 



TABLES 191 

was practically superseded by the former, which thus 
became the standard name. 

Thus in Shakespeare table, in the sense of a place 
for meals, is written between five and six times as 
often as the older word board. In Wycliffe's trans- 
lation of the Bible, made in the time of Chaucer, the 
word board as a place for meat occurs thirty-two 
times and table but once ; whereas, in the version of 
King James, made a little over two hundred years 
later, table is used altogether and board not at all. 

One of the influences that contributed powerfully 
to this change in name was the Norman invasion. 
When William the Conqueror and his followers 
came to England they brought with them not only 
their manners and customs, but also their language ; 
and as they had called this piece of furniture a table 
in Normandy, so they and their descendants contin- 
ued to call it in England without any regard to its 
construction. 

Another cause was the habit of allowing the board 
to stand permanently upon its trestles instead of 
removing it after every meal. In this way, as Mr. 
Robinson has explained, less attention was given to 
the top than when it was moved off and on with 
every emergency, and so by degrees the board lost 
its name and the piece in its entirety was called a 
table. 

The table with trestles, however, continued to be 



192 TABLES 

the regulation table for several centuries after the 
Norman conquest. We are told by Galfridus Gram- 
maticus, in his English- Latin Dictionary, the 
" Promptorium Parvulorum," written about 1440, 
that a " table " at that time was a " mete boord that 
ys borne a-wey whan' mete ys doon." That even the 
" table dormant " of the fourteenth and fifteenth 
centuries was sometimes a board standing upon 
trestles is shown by the following item recorded in 
1509 in the inventory of Martin Collins, Treasurer 
of York, published by the Surtees Society, namely, 
" De xviii d. pro Hi. dormondes hordes cum tripotT 
Following; the trend of the inventories we find that 
tables with trestles were not uncommon down to the 
middle of the sixteenth century, when " joined " and 
" framed " tables began to appear. After this time 
tables with trestles declined in frequency, but that 
they continued to be used by English people well 
into the eighteenth century is proved by the " table- 
boards " that we have cited from the New England 
records. 

A table-board, we are now prepared to explain, 
was no more nor less than the top of a table which, 
when brought out and placed upon trestles or im- 
provised supports, made the family board, to be used 
for the occasion and put away when the meal was 
over. We have not seen trestles mentioned in our 
inventories in connection with table-boards, but that 







Fig. 78 

CHIPPENDALE CHAIR 

Second half eighteenth century 



TABLES 193 

they were sometimes used in New England is shown 
by the following extract from the inventory of Robert 
Wing, of Boston, made in 165 1, namely, " To tables 
and trestles and fair benches, 5 s." 

The table-boards of our New England ancestors 
have, therefore, served to remind us of a custom 
which in their days had become nearly extinct, and 
of the origin and history of the two names by which 
the English dining- table has been known as far back 
as it can be traced. 

The ordinary tables in use in New England dur- 
ing the early colonial period were framed structures 
with square-shaped, round, or oval tops, and with 
legs usually turned and held in place below by firm 
rails or stretchers running all around just above the 
floor. 

In examining the inventories from the earliest 
down to about 1650 the following varieties are those 
usually met with, namely, framed tables, joined 
tables, round tables, chair tables, long tables, drawing- 
tables, and square tables. 

There is little doubt that the words framed and 
joined were interchangeable terms and used indiffer- 
ently in the inventories to describe tables with frames 
constructed similarly to the one shown in Fig. 93. 
But when a table with a square frame had a round 
top it was called a round table ; if the top was square, 
a square table ; if the table was convertible into a 



194 TABLES 

chair, a chair table ; if the frame and top were much 
longer than usual it was called a long table ; if made 
with a top to be drawn out or extended, it was said 
to be a draw or drawing-table. All these varieties, 
however, were framed or joined tables, that is, joined 
or framed together by a joiner, but naturally took 
the more descriptive names suggested by individual 
peculiarities of structure or use. 

Long tables are found in our inventories as early as 
1644, and, with the exception of drawing-tables, were 
then the largest in use for dining purposes. They 
were made of various sizes, and with more or less 
ornamentation, and when not in use were often cov- 
ered with carpets. The item, " In the Hall, 1 long 
table & carpett, £2. 10," is found in 1652-53 in the 
list of household furniture that had belonged to 
John Cotton, of Boston. They were not very wide, 
but sufficiently so to be used from both sides, for the 
custom of sitting at one side of the table which had 
prevailed in Europe for centuries had now become 
practically obsolete. " 1 long fframed Table and 2 
Joyned formes by it, In the Parlour," are mentioned 
in the inventory of Francis Chickering, of Dedham, 
made in 1658. 

A drawing-table is mentioned in 1647, in the in- 
ventory of George Lamberton, of New Haven, one, 
"in the hall," in 1657, in the estate of Governor The- 
ophilus Eaton, of New Haven, and two, in 1658, in 



TABLES 195 

that of Stephen Goodyeare, the Deputy Governor of 
the same colony. They are found in the English 
inventories as early as 1565. 

They usually belonged to people of wealth or sta- 
tion. They were of various sizes, and so made that 
the ordinary length of the table could be nearly 
doubled by means of extension pieces at both ends. 
These pieces when not in use lie under the main 
top. They are fastened to beveled slides, on which 
they are raised in extension to the proper level. 

The drawing-table, shown in Fig. 93, now belongs 
to the Connecticut Historical Society of Hartford, 
having been presented several years since by the late 
Henry Halsey, of Windsor, Conn. Its history has 
been carefully obtained by Mr. J. H. Hayden, of 
Windsor Locks, Conn., who succeeded in tracing it 
to an old house on the homestead of Matthew Allyn 
and his descendants, which was pulled down about' 
1830. This would indicate that it may have come 
down in the Allyn family, and that it possibly be- 
longed to Matthew Allyn who died in 1670. A 
drawing-table, however, is not found in his inventory. 
Indeed, the only drawing-table that we have noted in 
the Hartford records is the one mentioned in the in- 
ventory, made in 1676, of Governor John Winthrop. 
The item reads, "A great draw Table, £1." This 
may, therefore, have been his table. 

The top of the main table is seventy-three inches 



196 TABLES 

long and thirty-five and three eighths inches wide. 
The pieces which were made to draw out at the 
ends were each thirty and a half inches in length. 
These with their slides are missing, but the artist, 
Mr. Robert McKee, has restored them in the draw- 
ing in order to show the entire design. The full 
length of the table in extension was, therefore, eleven 
feet and two inches. Its present hight is thirty-three 
and three eighths inches, but to this must certainly 
be added one and a half inches, the thickness of the 
lost extension pieces. Calculation must also be made 
for the feet which have been cut off, according to 
the careful estimates of competent judges, between 
five and six inches above the floor. If the lower 
of these figures is within bounds, the original hight 
of this old table could not have been less than forty 
inches. 

The wood is oak of a deep brown color, too dark, 
indeed, to be the wood of the American white oak, 
after full allowance has been made for the effects of 
time. For this reason, and because the color corre- 
sponds so well to that of old Transatlantic oak, we 
believe that this table was made in Europe and 
brought to this country in the seventeenth century. 

Drawing-tables disappeared from the inventories 
in the latter part of the seventeenth century, but 
long tables, though infrequently mentioned after 
1675, linger in the records till about 1750. 




Fig. 79 

CHIPPENDALE CHAIR 

Second half eighteenth centur 



TABLES 197 

A chair table is mentioned in the inventory of 
John Copse, of Watertown, Mass., made in 1644. 
How early they were made in Europe we do not 
know, but in England certainly as early as 1558, in 
which year a "round chaire table in the plour" is 
disposed of by Andrew Cranewise, of Bury, in his 
will published by the Camden Society. 

Their principal use was for tables. The tops were 
perhaps oftener round than otherwise, sometimes 
square, and occasionally octagonal. The item, " 1 
Joyned Chayer table with the leafe eigh Square, 
8 s.," is found in 1675, in the inventory of William 
Sprague, Sen., of Boston. As chairs their proper 
place was at the side of the room. The combina- 
tion enabled the housewife to turn the table from the 
middle of the floor into a chair against the wall. 

The specimen shown in Figs. 94 and 95 was picked 
up in Hingham, Mass., a few years ago, and now be- 
longs to the writer. The table top is four feet three 
inches in diameter. The drawer under the seat adds 
to the quaintness of the piece. The feet are restora- 
tions. A very good table chair that belonged to 
Theodore Hook is illustrated by Mr. Robinson in 
" The Art Journal" for August, 1881. 

An example of the square tables of the seventeenth 
century is shown in our next illustration, Fig. 96. 
The frame is of oak and well preserved. The drawer 
is lost, but was grooved on both sides to receive the 



198 TABLES 

guards on which it slid out and back, a contrivance 
of which the joiner of the seventeenth century was 
particularly fond. Turned frames, similar to the one 
here represented, belonged to many of the long, 
round, and square tables which figure in the Ne 



vv 



England inventories in the last half of the seven- 
teenth and early part of the eighteenth century. 

This specimen belongs to Mr. G. H. Hale, of 
South Glastonbury, Conn., where it has been known 
for many generations. Its top is forty-two inches 
square and twenty-seven high from the floor. 

A very interesting table belonging to Mr. John 
Pickering, of Salem, Mass., is shown in Fig. 97. 
There is no definite history of it, but the tradition 
in the family has always been that it was brought to 
this country by his ancestor, John Pickering, who 
came here about 1637. 

The frame of the table under the top has proba- 
bly undergone some alteration, but the legs and 
stretchers are believed to be in their original con- 
dition. Certain details about the legs and feet re- 
mind us of the under parts of the six-legged chests 
of drawers, and while we have no positive opinion to 
offer as to the age of this table, we are inclined to 
think that it was made at the close of the seven- 
teenth or in the beginning of the eighteenth cen- 
tury. 

In 1669 " an Ovall Table, In the Hall," belonging 




Fig. 80 

CHIPPENDALE CHAIR 

Second half eighteenth century 



TABLES 199 

to the estate of Antipas Boyes, of Boston, was in- 
ventoried at £$. 10. The oval top in this instance 
may have been fastened to a square frame like the 
one shown in the last illustration, but from the price 
given it was with greater probability a table with 
leaves, sometimes called a folding-table, of the style 
and make represented in Fig. 98. Such tables had 
already been in fashion in England for one or two 
decades at least, and during the latter part of the 
seventeenth and first half of the eighteenth century 
became very common in this country. 

They were made quite narrow in the frame, so that 
when the flaps were down the table occupied a very 
small space at the side of the room, but the leaves 
were often so large that when up a good sized table 
presented itself. 

The framed supports for the leaves give to these 
tables the appearance of having a great many legs. 
On this account they are nowadays sometimes called 
thousand-legged tables. That this, however, is a mod- 
ern sobriquet is probable from the fact that the ex- 
pression thousand-legged is not found in the inven- 
tories, where these tables are referred to simply as 
oval tables. 

The specimen here shown is of moderate size, mea- 
suring about five feet in length, and three feet eight 
inches in its greatest width. They were sometimes 
made very large. One in the Heriot Hospital in 



200 TABLES 

Edinburgh is twelve feet nine inches in length by 
seven feet nine inches in width. Another of similar 
size was published by Mr. Robinson in " The Art 
Journal" for June, 1881. These great tables were 
supplied with a leaf on each side, and with oval end 
pieces made separate from the main table. An oval 
end piece which had belonged to such a table is pre- 
served in the rooms of the Connecticut Historical 
Society of Hartford. Its framework is very heavy, 
the legs being three and five eighths inches square 
between the turnings. The width of the top is seven 
feet four inches, and this is not quite as wide as the 
main table of which it was a part. 

A little table with a folding frame of this same 
style, but with a circular top in one piece, is shown 
in Fig. 99 from the Hosmer collection. The table 
is made to stand on the floor and to support its top 
in the horizontal position by placing the two por- 
tions of the frame at right angles with each other. 
By folding these parallel with each other the top 
falls on a hinge to a vertical line, just as is often 
seen in stands and stand tables, and the table thus 
folded being unable to support itself is placed in a 
closet, or against the wall at the side of the room. 

A style of table very common in New England, 
from about the beginning of the eighteenth century, 
is shown in Fig. 100 from the Hosmer collection. 
The tops were usually round or oval, but sometimes 



TABLES 201 

square. Each leaf was kept up by a leg swinging 
outward to a right angle with the frame. The feet 
were generally plain, but after 1750, in the best 
tables, were sometimes of the ball and claw pattern, 
as in the present instance. 

A very quaint little table, quite common in Con- 
necticut, but apparently very little known elsewhere, 
is shown in our next illustration, Fig. 101. From 
the spreading of the legs one receives the impres- 
sion that it may be of German origin ; and from its 
general construction, and the histories and traditions 
accompanying certain specimens, it is quite evident 
that the style dates back into the first half of the 
eighteenth century. Its peculiarities are the spread- 
ing of the legs, and the method of supporting the 
flaps, which is well shown in the illustration. These 
supports are made to swing either way in putting 
down the leaves. None of the furniture connoisseurs 
in England and Scotland, to whom a picture of this 
table was shown a few years since, had ever before 
seen one like it. We show in Fig. 102 a little table 
made on the same plan, but without flaps. It be- 
longs to the Hosmer collection. Such tables are 
seldom seen in New England. 

A curious table, also belonging to the Hosmer 
collection, is shown in Fig. 103. The top turns on 
the center of a triangular bed. The leaves, when 
up, are made to rest on the angles, and when down 



202 TABLES 

to fall at the sides of this triangular frame. These 
changes are accomplished by the rotary motion of 
the top. By raising the leaves the piece is changed 
from a triangular to a circular table. It is made of 
mahogany, and dates from about the middle of the 
last century. One just like it was seen by the writer 
in the shop of a Boston dealer two or three years 
ago, which he had lately imported from Holland. 

Stands deserve a passing notice as being objects 
of household furniture with which the past genera- 
tions have been quite familiar, and which date as far 
back certainly as 1676, as in that year "3 stands" 
are found in the inventory of Freegrace Bendall, of 
Boston. In 1677 " 2 Stands, In the Hall Cham- 
ber," were valued at five shillings, in the inventory of 
David Anderson, of Charlestown, and in 1686, " 2 
Stands, In the Chamber," are mentioned in the in- 
ventory of William Condy, of Boston. They did not 
become numerous till after the beginning of the 
eighteenth century. Their tops were for the most 
part round in shape, sometimes square, and were 
supported by a single column, or pillar, which termi- 
nated below in three spreading feet or claws. Such 
tables with circular tops two or three feet in diame- 
ter, and sometimes with a low railing around the 
outer edge, were called Dutch tea tables early in the 
last century. Later they were known as stand tables, 
and these were sometimes of large size. We show 



TABLES 203 

in Figs. 104 and 105 two views of a very fine Dutch 
tea table, belonging to Mrs. Henry Roberts, of Hart- 
ford, Conn. 

Slate and stone tables began to appear in the in- 
ventories toward the close of the seventeenth cen- 
tury. A few examples are here given : — 

"A Stone Table, £1. 10." — Inventory of Mr. 
Richard Hooper, Watertown, Mass., 1691. 

" In the Lower Roome, A Slate table, £1." — In- 
ventory of Thomas Pemberton, chirurgeon, Boston, 
1693. 

" In y e hall, 1 Slate table, £1. 10." — Inventory of 
Captain Christopher Goffe, mariner, Boston, 1699. 

"A Table w th a Stone in the Middle, £1"— In- 
ventory of Captain Zechariah Long, mariner, Boston, 

1 703-4- 

"In the Hall Chamber, 1 Slate table, ,£3. 12." — 
Inventory of John Hodson, New Haven, 1711. 

"In the front Lower Room, 1 Stone Table, £1." 
— Inventory of John Cutler, chirurgeon, Boston, 
1717-18. 

"In the back Chamber, Stone table, 20/." — In- 
ventory of James Le Blonde, merchant, Boston, 
1719. 

" One inlayed Slate table Leaf, £3. 10." — Inven- 
tory of Deacon Samuel Shepherd, Middletown, 1750. 

It does not appear that these tables were very 
numerous. We have notes of twenty-five from the 



204 TABLES 

inventories, the date of the latest being 1764. We 
have also seen two examples. One of these belongs 
to the American Antiquarian Society of Worcester, 
Mass., having been presented in 1847 by the late 
John Preston, of New Ipswich, N. H., with a detailed 
history of its descent from his ancestor, the Rev. 
Nehemiah Walter, who was graduated from Harvard 
College in 1684. It has four turned legs united 
near the floor by four turned stretchers. The top, 
which is octagonal in form, is forty inches long by 
twenty-five inches wide. The slate, a part of which 
is missing, is dark in color and a little over one 
eighth of an inch in thickness. It is also shaped 
octagonally, and measured when whole a little over 
twenty -nine inches in length by fourteen and a 
quarter inches in width. It occupies the central 
portion, of the table, and is surrounded on the same 
level by an inlaid border of wood three and a half 
inches in width. There is a drawer under the top 
which pulls out at the side instead of at the end of 
the table. Fastened to the drawer is one of its ori- 
ginal brasses. It is of the drop variety hollowed out 
behind, such as has been described as one of the 
oldest styles found in this country, and which ceased 
to be put on new work about 1730. 

The second specimen is owned by Mr. W. F. J. 
Boardman, of Hartford, Conn. Its style is that of 
the dressing-tables (Fig. 29) made to go with the 



TABLES 205 

six-legged chests of drawers. The slate is square- 
shaped, twenty-nine inches long by fourteen and a 
half wide, and, like the specimen at Worcester, is 
surrounded by a border of marquetry. This is five 
and a quarter inches wide, of a light-colored ground, 
in which conventional figures of dragons, scorpions, 
and squares are elaborately inlaid with woods of a 
darker hue. Its brasses are of the same style as 
those on the other specimen. It was undoubtedly 
a table made to accompany a six - legged chest of 
drawers, but was finished with an ornamental instead 
of a plain top. Dressing-tables of this kind with 
tops enriched with inlays of wood, but without the 
slate, are known to collectors. 

According to the language of the inventory the 
" slate table leaf " that we have cited from the estate 
of Deacon Samuel Shepherd was " inlaid." We 
therefore have three tables with slate and marquetry 
entering into the decoration of their tops. There 
was also, in all probability, a wooden border of more 
or less richness to the " table w" 1 a stone in the mid- 
dle," which had belonged to Zechariah Long. 

From the foregoing facts we may reasonably con- 
clude that the slate and stone tables of the period 
now under consideration were so called because slate 
and stone entered into the construction of their tops. 
That the use of these materials was not restricted to 
any particular kind of table is shown by the differ- 



206 TABLES 

ences between the two examples here described, and 
also by the fact that slate and stone tables were 
found in the various apartments of the house. 

" A marble table, In the Hall," is mentioned in 
1665 in the inventory of Governor John Endicott, of 
Massachusetts. This, however, seems to have been 
an exceptionally early specimen, as the next refer- 
ence to them that we find in our notes is the item, 
"A marble Table, £8," which occurs in 1726 in the 
inventory of Mrs. Elizabeth Pitts, of Boston. They 
are frequently mentioned in the London newspapers 
from about the year 1710. Besides the two instances 
now given some of the most valuable facts relating 
to these tables, which have been gathered from our 
colonial records, are contained in the following ex- 
tracts : — 

" In the Chamber, A Marble Table & Frame, 
;£io." — Inventory of William Griffith, merchant, 
Boston, 1740. 

" 1 Large marble Table & Frame, ,£8." — Inven- 
tory of Captain William Bennett, mariner, Boston, 
1741. 

"In the Hall, 1 fine marble Table, ,£70." — In- 
ventory of William Clark, merchant, Boston, 1742. 

" 1 Marble Table, ^12." — Inventory of Peter 
Faneuil, Boston, 1743. 

" In the Parlour, 1 marble Slab & Table, ,£10." — 
Inventory of James Pemberton, Esq., Boston, 1747. 



TABLES 207 

" In the Great Parlour, 1 Marble Table w ,h Me- 

hogany Frame, ,£50." — Inventory of Nathaniel 

Cunningham, merchant, Boston, 1 748-49. 

" In the Great Parlour, One marble table." 

" In Dining Room up Stairs, 1 Marble Table." — 

Inventory of Charles Apthorp, merchant, Boston, 

1759- 

" 1 Marble Side Boord & Frame, £2." — Inven- 
tor)' of Joshua Winslow, Esq., Boston, 1 769. 

This last item will be recognized as the one pre- 
viously quoted in connection with sideboards in the 
chapter on Cupboards. 

The prices here given from 1726 to 1750 are in 
the depreciated paper currency of the day, and are 
therefore somewhat misleading. Reduced to silver, 
according to the scale given in Felt's " Historical 
Account of Massachusetts Currency," they would be, 
beginning with the table that belonged to Mrs. 
Elizabeth Pitts, ^3. 15. 3; £2. 17. 1; £2. 5. 8; 
.£20; £3. 8. 6; £2. 2. 1; and £6. 13. 4, respec- 
tively. 

As marble tables were found all over the house, 
it is probable that their uses were various, like the 
slate and stone tables just considered. They dif- 
fered from the slate tables in respect to size, being 
as a rule larger; in having, so far as we know, mar- 
ble only, and no wood in their tops ; and in being 
used more or less for sideboard tables. In the chap- 



2o8 TABLES 

ter on Cupboards we have cited from a London 
newspaper of 1 746 " a large marble sideboard table," 
and also mentioned that Chippendale made sideboard 
tables from five to six feet long with marble tops. 

The Heppelwhite tables found in New England 
are chiefly of the card and Pembroke styles figured 
in his book of designs published in 1 789. They are 
made of wild cherry, mahogany, and sometimes of 
rosewood, and are inlaid with satin, holly, ebony, 
maple, sumach, and other woods. Indeed, the beauty 
of these tables consists mainly in their inlays,, which 
are sometimes very rich. The table, Fig. 106, in the 
possession of Mr. Edwin Simons, of Hartford, Conn., 
is a good example of the card tables made after the 
style of Heppelwhite. The Pembroke tables are 
small, with two leaves and with square or oval tops. 
According to Sheraton the name was derived from 
" the lady who first gave orders for one of them." 

Having treated of the various kinds of dining- 
tables used by our ancestors, it may not be wholly 
out of place in concluding this chapter to say a few 
words about the rooms in which the meals were 
eaten, as well as certain articles of table furniture 
which are now of historic interest. 

The dwelling-houses of New England in the 
seventeenth century were usually divided into the 
following apartments, namely, the hall, one or more 
parlors, the kitchen, the chambers over these rooms, 



TABLES 209 

and the garrets. Other rooms are occasionally men- 
tioned in the records ; some of these will be referred 
to as we proceed. Of these apartments the hall and 
the parlor were those used by the well-to-do as dining- 
rooms. 

It must be remembered here that the hall of these 
early days had nothing in common with the hall of 
our modern houses. Instead of being a mere en- 
trance way it was the principal living room of the 
family, just as it was in England at the same time 
and among the same people, and just as it had been 
there for several centuries. 

The place in the houses of the seventeenth and 
eighteenth centuries that corresponded to what we 
now term the hall was then called the entry. The 
word entry in this sense is found in the Boston in- 
ventories from about 1650 to 1835, after which these 
records are no longer available for this inquiry, as 
the ancient custom of mentioning each room by 
name and apprizing its contents item by item was 
then discontinued. 

The word hall in its modern sense was in use in 
England as early as the beginning of the eighteenth 
century, when spacious entrance halls became archi- 
tectural features of the palaces and manor houses 
built after the Anglo-Palladian style then in vogue. 
Such halls are to be seen in Marlborough House in 
London, and in Blenheim in Oxfordshire, built in 



2IO TABLES 

1709 and 1 71 5 respectively. The name hall was 
given to such entrances as these on account, proba- 
bly, of their great. size. But the style with its no- 
menclature soon reached the houses of the middle 
classes, who found little difficulty in calling their new 
and greatly enlarged entries by the new and fashion- 
able name. 

The evidence furnished by the Boston inventories 
is sufficient to show that a much longer time elapsed 
before the entrance ways of New England houses 
were called halls. Corroboration of this is also 
found in the definition of hall given by Webster in 
his folio dictionary published in 1828. By compar- 
ing it with the earlier definitions of Bailey and 
Johnson, it will be seen that Webster did not then 
recognize the more modern use of the word to desis;- 
nate the entrance way of an ordinary dwelling-house. 

There is proof, however, that some New England 
people called the entrances to their houses halls long 
before the custom was fully established. The earliest 
instance of this that we have met with is in 1754 in 
the inventory of John Salmon, of Boston, merchant. 
The record is as follows : " In the Hall, 1 glass Lan- 
thorn, 5/ 4, 5 pictures or maps, 8/." There can be 
no question that the hall here referred to was the 
front entry, as its contents, which are here given in 
full, are such as are almost invariably found in the 
front entries of the Boston houses of this period. 






TABLES 211 

Another fact bearing on this point has been com- 
municated to the writer by Mr. George R. Curwen, 
of Salem, Mass. This gentleman remembers per- 
fectly well an incident that occurred about the year 
1833, in which his aunt, the late Mrs. James dish- 
ing, of Salem, spoke of the front entry of her house 
as the hall. She was then about sixty years old, 
and as this habit continued through life, it is alto- 
gether probable that it was acquired considerably 
before the year 1S33. 

As a rule, the front entry of a New England house 
made before 1 750 was built in front of the single 
central chimney and contained, besides the staircase, 
but little more than space enough for the front door 
to swing open. Most of these entries had no furni- 
ture whatever in them, and this is why they are so 
seldom mentioned in the inventories. 

Let us now return to the Puritan hall of the seven- 
teenth century. The reader has doubtless noticed in 
the quotations from the inventories given in the pre- 
ceding pages that many different kinds of furniture 
have been mentioned in connection with the old 
colonial hall. A better idea of this apartment and 
of its uses can be obtained by studying its contents 
together. For this purpose all the items of furniture 
found in two of these halls are here siven : — 

" In the Hall, a drawing Table & a round table, £1. 18. 
A cubberd, & 2 long formes, 14 s. 



212 TABLES 

A cubberd cloth, & cushions, 13s.; 4 setwork cushions, 12 s., 

6 greene cushions, 12 s. ; a great chaire with needle worke, 

i3 s -> £*• 5- 

2 high chaires setwork, 20 s.; 4 high stooles setworke," 26 s. 
8d., £2. 6. 8. 

4 low chaires setworke, 6 s. 8 d., £1. 6. 8. 

2 low stooles set worke, 10 s. 

2 Turky Carpetts, £2 ; 6 high joyne stooles, 6 s., ^2. 6. 
A pewter cisterne, & candlestick, 4 s. 

A pr of great brass Andirons, £2. o. o. 
A pr of small Andirons, 6 s. 8 d. 
A pr of doggs, 2 s. 6 d. 
A pr of tongues, fire pan, & bellowes, 7 s." 
Inventory of Theophilus Eaton, Governor of New Haven Col- 
ony, Connecticut, 1657. 

" In the Hall, 2 brasse Andirons, Doggs, fyrepan and tonngs, 
£2. 10. 

12 Red Letherne Chaires, ,£5. 

1 pewter Cesterne, r paire of brasse snuffers, 5 s. 

6 Turkie Quishons & 3 wrought, £2. 5. 

1 drawing Table & Carpet, £2. 10. 

1 Round Table, £1. 5. 

6 Joyne stooles, 12 s. 

1 Courte Cubbard & Cubbard cloth, £1. 

1 Scollop Candlesticke, 3 s. 

3 screwes, 6 Roles, 2 wicker baskets, 8 s. 

1 Curtane & Rod, 1 lb ^ tourtell shell, 5 doz timbres, 13 s. 6 d. 

118 oz of plate at 5 s. Ounce, £29. 10." 

Inventory of Jacob Sheaffe, merchant, Boston, 1659. 

It will be admitted that the presence of a drawing- 
table in each of these halls is sufficient to identify 
them as apartments used for dining. 



TABLES 21 3 

The history of the parlor in England as a place 
into which the family could retire for conversation 
and for meals, and thus escape the publicity of the 
mediaeval hall, has been carefully traced by Wright 
and others from its bee-innings at the close of the 
fourteenth century until it became the English din- 
ing-room. 

In New England, from the first, it seems to have 
been the custom for many of the chief magistrates, 
the clergy, and wealthy gentlemen to make use of 
one of their parlors as a dining-room, either daily or 
on occasion. This is inferred from the character 
of its furniture. John Cotton evidently used "y e 
great Parlour " of his house in Boston for this pur- 
pose, as it contained, among other things, a long 
table and carpet, a court-cupboard, cloth, and voider. 

We give here the entire furnishings of one of 
these parlors belonging to Captain William Tyng, a 
Boston merchant, copied from his inventory made in 
1653: — 

" In the parlour, a drawing Table, £2. 

A Cipresse chest, ,£5. 

8 red leather Backe chaires & 2 loe leather Backe stooles, ,£3. 

4 loe stooles & 2 high Turky worke, £1. 8. 

10 old cushiones, 16 s. 

A paire Brasse andirons & an iron hoope, £1. 10. 

2 pewter Stills, £1. 10. 

A Brasse clocke, £2. 

1 old greine cubord cloath, 2 s. 



214 TABLES 

i chest of drawers, £2. 10. 

Stript hangings 2 picktures & a mapp, £1. 10. 

2 dozen layd worke napkins, £2. 8. 

2 dozen h of Course napkins, £1. 5. 

4 paire large sheats, ,£5. 

4 paire course sheetes, £3. 

7 pillow beers, £2. 

10 Table cloathes, ^"i. 10. 

Old iron 63 lbs, 15 s." 

Captain Tyng had also a well furnished hall. In 
order to show that it was probably the chief living 
room of the family, and that it was used for meals 
also, we reproduce the record of its contents in 
full : — 

" In the Hall, 2 tables and a forme at £2. 

1 longe & 1 short stript carpetts and a greene Cubboord cloath 
with a Voyder, £1. 10. 

1 plaine Livery Cubard, 10 s. 

1 greine Couch layd with a case, £2. 10. 

1 velvett Window Cushion, 12 s. 

1 great greine chaire & 6 high backe chaires & 2 loe backe 
stooles all greine and 2 turky worke high back chaires & 1 
old greine elboe chaire all cased, £6. 

1 great paire of brasse Andirons, 1 paire brasse creepers, 1 
paire brasse tongs & a brasse fireshovell, 1 pr of carved Bellowes, 
& an Iron hoope & a brasse branch, £3. 10. 

1 Drum with drumsticks & a case, £2. 

1 great lanthorne & an old paire Bellowes with a brasse pipe, 
10 s. 

7 picktures, 7 s. 

1 truncke covered with seale skins, 6 s." 



TABLES 2 1 5 

Shortly after the middle of the century, dining- 
rooms be°:an to be mentioned in the Boston records. 
The first instance of this that we find in our notes is 
in the inventory of Antipas Boyes, whose estate was 
apprized in 1669. The furniture of this room, which 
differed but little from that in the halls and parlors 
which we have already studied in detail, is here given 
in full : — 

" In the dyning Roome, a pr of Cast Andirons & back, £2. 
4 leather chayres, £1. S. 
1 long ceder table, £1. 15. 
13 joynt Stooles, £1. 6. 

1 small Table w th drawers, 6 s. 
A carpet, 15 s. 

A wine Cisterne, 1 s. 6d. 

A glass case with 9 peeces of earthenware, 10 s." 

As it is interesting to compare the furniture of 
one of these early dining-rooms with what was in 
the hall of the same house, the contents of the latter 
apartment are here subjoined : — 

"In the Hall, 12 Turkey worke chayres, £j. 4. 

A standing Cubbert, £1. 10. 

An Ovall Table, £3. 10. 

A Round Table, £1. 10. 

A looking glass, £1. 10. 

A Cubbert cloath with a border, £1. 5. 

2 Tinn branches, 3 s. 

A Round wicker voyder or charger, 2 s. 6 d. 
A large pr of Andirons, 25 s. 



2l6 TABLES 

A lesser pr w th brass heads, ios. 
A fyer pann & tonges of brass, 15 s. 
A carpet, 15 s." 

One of the rooms in the house of Antipas Boyes 
was called " The little Parlour." The word little 
here suggests that there was also a great parlor, but 
no such apartment is mentioned in the inventory. 
The great parlor thus referred to by implication was 
probably the " dyning roome " whose contents we 
have just displayed. It has already been seen that 
the parlors of these days were often provided with 
dining-room furniture, and it is undoubtedly true that 
when these dining parlors began to be called din- 
ing-rooms, the words parlor and dining-room became 
convertible terms and remained so for a considerable 
time, until each acquired its more restricted and 
•modern signification. 

In Boston the hall, the parlor, and the dining-room 
were, therefore, the apartments in which the meals 
of the better classes were eaten. This remained so 
until about 1725, when the hall began to be called 
the sitting-room by some, and, a little later, the keep- 
ing-room by others. In and about Hartford, Conn., 
it was called the dwelling-room. Under these new 
names it continued to be the principal living room 
of the household, and, like the old hall, was used by 
many as the family dining-room. 

The old hall, however, did not at once surrender 




Fig. 92 
A SETTLE 
Made in 1769 



TABLES 217 

its name. It appears in the estates of many of the 
best people down to about 1750, and is mentioned 
in the Boston records as late as 1770, if not later. 
From about 1680 its furniture, like that of all other 
parts of the house, became more rich and abundant. 
Here are the contents of the hall of John Jekyll, 
Esq., of Boston, according to his inventory made in 
i73 2 -33: — 

" In the Hall, 2 Couches, Squabs & pillows, £3. 

1 Eight day Clock, .£20. 

2 pictures Queen Ann & Prince George, £8. 
13 small pictures, @ 7/6, £4. 17. 6. 

6 ffamily Pictures & a Coat of Arms, ^"ioo. 
1 Tea Table and Set of burnt China, .£15. 
1 Large Looking glass, ,£30. 

4 glass branches, 2 Sconces, ,£4. 

1 walnut Card Table, £6. 

2 pr window Curtains & a painted Canvas for the ffloor, £2. 
2 burnt China bowls, £2. 

1 ditto large Crackt, ros. 

2 Slop Bowls crackt, 10 s. 
2 Small Bowls, 15 s. 

6 Chocolat Bowls © 5/, £1. 10. 

1 pr Small Bowls, 10 s. 

12 Coffe cups with handles @ 5/, £$. 

5 Cups 4 Saucers @ 3/, £1. 7. 

1 pr China Candlesticks Tipt w th Silver, £4. 

1 Tea pot & saucer, 10 s. 

1 hearth brush, 10 s. 

1 drauft board, £1. 

1 doz n Cane Chaires, £20. 

4 Stands, 10 s." 



2l8 TABLES 

The following extracts from the same inventory 
will serve to mark the difference between the hall 
and the entry of this house, as well as to show the 
contents of the latter : — 

" In The Entrys, & on the Stair Case, 9 Painted 
Pictures, £5. 2 lanthorns, £\. 64 Prints @ 2/, 
£6. 3 s." 

The coverings for the tables of the seventeenth 
century were tablecloths and carpets. Holland, dia- 
per, and damask tablecloths are the varieties usually 
mentioned. These were sometimes enriched with 
colors. The item, " 1 Holland table cloth ed°;ed with 
blewe, 1 2 s.," is found in the inventory of Mrs. Ann 
Hibbins, of Boston, made in 1656, and a "table Cloth 
wrought w th red " belonged to the estate of Hum- 
phrey Davie, Esq., of Hartford, Conn., inventoried 
in 1689. 

The carpets mentioned in the inventories in con- 
nection with tables are, green, green cloth, green 
broadcloth, Dorneck, Turkey wrought, calico, and oc- 
casionally Arras. The item, " 3 Arras Table cloths 
20 s. each, ^3," occurs in 1654, in the inventory of 
Mr. Augustine Walker, of Charlestown. If it should 
seem a little strange to hear table covers called car- 
pets, it will be interesting to know that in England 
the word carpet was applied to the coverings of ta- 
bles, beds, cupboards, and floors from three to four 
hundred years before it was finally restricted, at 




m < 



TABLES 219 

about the middle of the eighteenth century, to the 
coverings for floors. 

The table dishes of our early colonial ancestors 
were chiefly pewter and wooden, with some alchemy, 
earthen, china, glass, and silverware. Tin and lat- 
ten dishes were also in use, but rather for culinary 
than table purposes. The inventories abound with 
pewter platters, plates, porringers, flagons, tankards, 
drinking pots, cups, bowls, salts, and spoons. The 
range of wooden dishes was less extensive, the arti- 
cles usually enumerated being trenchers, platters, 
cups, bowls, and spoons. Alchemy spoons, to judge 
from their frequent mention, were quite as common 
as pewter spoons, perhaps more so. 

Earthenware begins with the early estates, but 
after the middle of the century white earthenware, 
blue and painted dishes are not infrequently met 
with. The following items relating to these wares 
are quoted ■ from the inventories of the persons 
named: "A whit cup;" Joseph Weld, Boston, 1646. 
" 6 small blew dishes, 2s.;" Mrs. Mary Hudson, 
Boston, 165 1. " 10 peeces of white earthen dishes, 
6s.;" William Blanchard, Boston, 1652. "Blew 
dishe, 8d. ;" Abraham Warr, Salem, 1654. "6 white 
dishes," and " 2 white porringers ; " Thomas Faulk- 
ner, Boston, 1656. " In ten Paynted earthen dishes, 
10s. ;" Peter Bulkely, Concord, Mass., 1659. "In 
white earthenware, £1 ;" Henry Webb, Boston, 1660. 



220 TABLES 

" Painted earthenware, 6s.;" James Davis, Boston, 
1661. " Som duth [Dutch] earthen platters and 
Som other earthen ware, 6 s. 8d. ;" John Betts, Cam- 
bridge, Mass., 1662-63. " 1 7 peecis of blew and w' 
earth ware, 8 s. 6 d. ; " Henry Harwood, Salem, .1664. 
" 5 painted earthen dishes & 1 salt, 3s.;" Thomas 
Barnes, Hingham, Mass., 1672. White and blue 
earthen dishes are also found in the Connecticut 
inventories. 

The probabilities are very great that the white and 
blue and painted earthen dishes, as well as the Dutch 
earthen platters here referred to, were the enameled 
faience made at Delft in Holland. 

Holland ware is very seldom mentioned in our in- 
ventories before the eighteenth century. The only 
other instance that we have met with, besides the 
Dutch earthen platters which had belonged to John 
Betts, is in the inventory of John Cross, of Ipswich, 
made in 1650, in which "Holland jugs "are men- 
tioned. 

The first positive mention of the Dutch ware 
noted in the eighteenth century is in . the estate of 
James Lyndall, of Boston, merchant, inventoried in 
1720, in which "a parcell of Duch Tyle Broken" 
is apprized at £2. In 1721 the following items are 
found in the inventory of Mary Denison, of Wethers- 
field, Conn., namely, " Three holland earthen plat- 
ters, 5s.;" " two holland earthen platters, 2 s." In 




Fig. 94 
A CHAIR TABLE AS A TABLE 



TABLES 221 

1724 " A parcell of China & Delph ware " was inven- 
toried in the estate of Mr. Ambrose Vincent, of Bos- 
ton, and in 1729 we find "Two large flower pots 
Delf ware & 2 jars of D .," valued at £2, in the in- 
ventory of Governor William Burnet. 

Delft ware had now become common. In the 
year last mentioned a large amount of it was inven- 
toried from the stock in trade of William Welsteed, 
a Boston merchant, examples of which are as follows : 
"1 Dozn Delph plates, 18 s. ;" "6 blue and white 
delph plates ; " " 1 Dozn blue & white delph Plates, 
£1." " 1 Dozn Delph pickle caucers, 8 s." In 1734 
Dutch fireplace tiles are again mentioned, this time 
in the inventory of John Ballantine, a Boston sea 
captain and merchant, as follows : " In the back Gar- 
rett, 9 dozen Dutch Tiles, £1. 10." " In the Front 
Chamber, 10 dozen dutch Tiles, £2. 10." 

The enameled earthenware made at Delft in Hol- 
land and the imitation of it made in England were 
imported into this country in large quantities down 
to the period of the revolutionary war. Veiy little, 
if any, was brought here after the war, as Delft ware 
had been practically driven from the market by the 
superior products of the English potters, among 
whom, at this time, Josiah Wedgwood stood fore- 
most. 

The item, "a stone jugg blewe & white, 2s.," oc- 
curs in 1658-59, in the inventory of Hugh Laskins, 



222 TABLES 

of Salem, and, in 1662-63, " a stone judg tipt with 
silver" is apprized at 2 s. 6 d., in the estate of Jacob 
Leager, of Boston. These white (gray) stone jugs 
decorated with blue, though now scarce, are well 
known to New England collectors. In England it 
is held by many at the present time that they are of 
German origin. "3 fflanders jugs" are mentioned 
in 1678-79, in the inventory of Thomas Rix, of 
Boston. 

The history of china ware in New England is very 
similar to that of the faience of Delft. It begins to 
be mentioned in the inventories as early as 1641, and 
continues to reappear at short intervals and in small 
amounts till the early part of the eighteenth century 
is reached, when it began to increase rapidly, and 
soon became comparatively abundant. The follow- 
ing items are from the inventories of the persons 
named : " 1 Cheynie Dish ; " Thomas Knocker, Bos- 
ton, 1 64 1. " Cheny ware platter, 20 s.;" Thomas 
Coytemore, Charlestown, 1 645. " China dishes, 12s.;" 
William Clark, Salem, 1647. " 1 Chany dish;" Major- 
General Edward Gibbons, Boston, 1654. " 1 chaney 
bason;" Thomas Faulkner, Boston, 1656. "A cheny 
bason ; " Governor Theophilus Eaton, New Haven, 
1657. "6 small Chiny dishes, 20 s.;" John Coggan, 
Boston, 1658. " 3 boxes of east India dishes at ,£3 ; " 
Catherine Coytemore, Charlestown, 1659. "China 
Ware;" Rev. Samuel Stone, Hartford, 1663, and 
so on. 








THE CI- 



TABLES 223 

The following extracts from the Boston records 
will show how china ware began to increase in the 
beginning of the eighteenth century: " 16 china cups 
& 1 1 china sawcers ; " Samuel Shrimpton, 1 704. "A 
parcell of China and Glass ware, 15s.;" Elizur Hol- 
yoke, 1711-12. "12 Chaney Sasers, 12s., 11 Cups 
D°, us.;" Captain Walter Roswell, 171 7. "Five 
China Dishes, One Doz China Plates, two China 
Muggs, a China tea Pott, Two china Slopp Basons, 
Six China Sawsers, four china Cups, & one China 
Spoon-dish;" Isaac Caillowell, 1718. In the inven- 
tory of Captain John Charnock, dated 1723, forty- 
two pieces of china ware are referred to, and in that 
of Governor William Burnet, made in 1729, as many 
as three hundred pieces are mentioned. 

To the Delft and china dishes, which began to in- 
crease so rapidly in the early part of the eighteenth 
century, were soon added others of various kinds. 
One of these was the white stoneware with salt 
glaze, made in Staffordshire in England. The date 
of the first importations we shall not here undertake 
to decide, but there is little doubt that the white 
stoneware referred to in the following extracts was 
the celebrated salt-olazed fabric of English origin: — 
" To a Parcel of Earthen ware, £\. 5." 
" To Ditto yellow Bristo [Bristol] ware, £1. 5." 
" To Ditto white Stone ware, £2." — Inventory of 
James Bennett, mariner, Boston, 1735. 



224 TABLES 

"In the Shop, 16 pint Mugs Charlstown ware, 
6d@, 8 s." 

" 33 Quart ditto, 12 @, £1. 13." 

" 162 peices white Stone ware, 12 @, £2>. 2." — 
Inventory of Mr. Wigglesworth Sweetser, Boston, 

1745- 

With, or very soon after, the salt-glazed wares came 
the black Jackfield, the tortoise-shell, agate, cauli- 
flower, pine-apple, and melon wares, all of English 
manufacture. These were often very beautiful in 
color and in design, and with the china and Delft 
dishes gave the tables of this period a very rich and 
attractive appearance. 

All the different kinds of china and earthenware 
here mentioned, together with cream-ware, were ad- 
vertised for sale in New England newspapers as late 
as the beginning of the war of the revolution, and 
good examples are to-day preserved in many New 
England collections. 

Silverware was quite scarce among the early set- 
tlers, a cup, or beaker, or a few spoons being the 
extent in such families as had it at all. It soon 
began to increase, however, and some estates showed 
very considerable quantities for a newly settled coun- 
try. Thus, in the inventory of Thomas Coytemore, 
of Charlestown, made in 1645, IQ 6 ounces of plate 
are valued at ,£23 17s.; in that of Captain William 
Tyng, of Boston, made in 1653, 316 ounces avoir- 



TABLES 225 

dupois are valued at ,£60. The plate which had 
belonged to Governor Eaton, of New Haven, was 
apprized, in 1657, at ^"107 us.; that which had be- 
longed to Henry Shrimpton, of Boston, was apprized, 
in 1666, at ,£80; that which had belonged to Thomas 
Kellond, of Boston, was valued, in 16S3, at ^"133. 
7. 6. ; and that which had belonged to Sir William 
Phips, of Boston, at ^"415 in 1696. Among the arti- 
cles mentioned are spoons, beakers, tankards, cups, 
wine bowls, caudle-cups, sugar-dishes, salts, basins, 
porringers, forks, inkhorns, candlesticks, and shoe- 
buckles. 

The use of forks at the table for feeding was in- 
troduced into England from Italy in the reign of 
James I. Some time must have elapsed before their 
use became general in England, as they do not ap- 
pear among the effects of the best New England 
people until late in the century. 

The first mention of them that we have found is 
in the item, " In a Case, silver spoone forke & knife, 
£1" which occurs in the inventory of Antipas Boyes, 
of Boston, made in 1669. Other early instances are 
the following, namely : — 

In 1 67 1 the item, "one Case with spoone knife 
and fork, 7 s.," is found in the inventory of Robert 
Patteshall, of Boston. In 1675, in the inventory of 
John Freake, of Boston, " eight forkes " are men- 
tioned among the items of his silver plate. In 1676 



226 TABLES 

" i Silver hafted knife & forke " are valued at ten 
shillings in the inventory of Freegrace Bendall, of 
Boston. In 16S4 "one knife and forke w th silver 
hafts " are found in the inventory of Thomas Powes, 
of Boston, and "8 knifes and Forkes" in that of Wil- 
liam Harris, also of Boston. In 1692 "2 cases of 
knives & a doz n forks " are inventoried at fourteen 
shillings in the estate of Jeremiah Fitch, of Boston, 
and in 1693 " 9 forkes" are mentioned in the inven- 
tory of James Lloyd, of Boston, as having been a 
part of his silverware. From this time the mention 
of forks in the probate records occurs more and more 
frequently until their use became general. 

We have seen that the forks in two of these estates, 
certainly, were of silver. This was often the case, 
and it may be interesting to add that the handles 
of the knives and forks were made of various mate- 
rials, such as silver, ivory, agate, tortoise-shell, glass, 
japanned work, bone, horn, and wood. 

Six "4 pronged forks" are found among the items 
of silverware belonging to the estate of Captain 
Thomas Gilbert, innholder, of Boston, inventoried 
in 1 719; and we read in Weeden's " Economic and 
Social History of New England," Boston, 1891, p. 
622, of "one dozen silver forks with three Prongs" 
ordered from London by Peter Faneuil about 1 738. 

Glassware was scarce among the early colonists. 
Glass bottles, drinking glasses, and glass wine cups 



TABLES 227 

are occasionally found in the inventories. The rarity 
of glasses for drinking purposes may also be inferred 
from the not infrequent mention of such other drink- 
ing vessels as silver wine cups, pewter wine cups, 
earthen wine cups, and earthen drinking pots. 

Cases of bottles and glass cases now and then ap- 
pear in the records; the following are instances: — 

" 1 case of bottles." — Inventory of Ephraim Huit, 
Windsor, Conn., 1644. 

"A case of bottles with a glasse in it." — Inventory 
of Major-General Edward Gibbons, Boston, 1654. 

" A case w th 1 2 quart bottles, w th a locke, 5 s." 

" A case with 1 2 pinte bottles w th a locke, 3 s. 6 d." 

— Inventory of Governor Theophilus Eaton, New 
Haven, 1657. 

"A Case & seaven glasses, 5s." — Inventory of 
Joseph How, Lynn, Mass., 1650-51. 

" 1 Glasse Case with some Glasses & Earthen 
dishes, 10 s." — Inventory of Henry Webb, Boston, 
1660. 

"A glass case with 9 peeces of earthenware, 10s." 

— Inventory of Antipas Boyes, Boston, 1669. 

The cases for bottles were made of wood, and were 
in the form of a box or little chest. They were some- 
times more or less ornamented and furnished with 
metal mounts. When the lid was raised a number 
of compartments were brought to view, with a bottle 
in each. There were sometimes one or more glasses, 



228 TABLES 

similarly disposed, for drinking the contents of the 
bottles. 

We have neither seen a glass case nor a descrip- 
tion of one, but suppose that in construction they 
resembled the cases for bottles. It will be seen from 
the above extracts that their contents were not re- 
stricted to glassware. An interesting reference to 
the glass case and its uses is contained in the quota- 
tion from Comenius in the chapter on Cupboards 
(page 50). 

Much of the table glassware of the eighteenth cen- 
tury that we see to-day is coarsely engraved with zig- 
zag lines, festoons, flowers, and figures. It was also 
a common practice to flute the lower part of the 
tumblers and flip glasses. 

There were two kinds of painted glassware in use 
in New England in the eighteenth century worthy 
of mention. The specimens of the first, which have 
been preserved, consist chiefly of case bottles, octag- 
onal in shape, with pewter stoppers, which screw on 
and off. An occasional drinking glass is also seen. 
The glass is transparent, uncolored, and of inferior 
quality. The peculiarity of the ware lies in its deco- 
ration. It is painted in verifiable colors with flowers, 
wreaths, figures, etc. The colors are red, yellow, blue, 
green, and gray, with occasional touches of black. 
The designs and the execution are both exceedingly 
crude, but the results are very quaint and effective. 




d 



TABLES 229 

This ware is of German or Dutch manufacture, and 
began to be brought to this country early in the 
eighteenth century. 

The second kind to which we refer is also an 
enameled glass, but entirely different in character 
from the other. The glass, instead of being trans- 
parent, is opalized, so as to be nearly white. The 
designs are chiefly floral, but figures are not uncom- 
mon. The colors are various shades of red, yellow, 
green, blue, and purple, with some black, and against 
the opalized ground make a very gay and showy ap- 
pearance. Flip mugs, often very beautiful, and tea 
cups and saucers, are the pieces the most seen, but 
all the component parts of tea sets made of this 
ware are known to collectors. In the inventory of 
Elizabeth Maxwell, made in Boston in 1733, we find 
the item, "1 pr Glass muggs flowred;" and in that 
of Captain James Pecker, Boston, 1734, "3 painted 
Glass tea Cupps and Saucers & 1 Server " are valued 
at seven shillings. We are inclined to believe that 
these objects, especially the tea cups and saucers, 
were early specimens of the ware now under con- 
sideration. This opalized glass is believed to be of 
Spanish manufacture. 

The early history of chocolate, coffee, and tea in 
New England, as gleaned from the public records, is 
somewhat as follows : — 

In the " Seventh Report of the Boston Record 



230 TABLES 

Commissioners " we read that at a meetinsr of the 
selectmen of Boston, held on January 30, 1670-71, 
it was agreed that " Mrs. Dorathy Jones the wife of 
Mr. Morgan Jones is approved of to keepe a house 
of publique Entertainment for the sellinge of Coffee 
& Chuchaletto." 

"Jane the wife of Bartholomew Barnard is aproved 
of alsoe to keepe a house of publique entertainment 
for the sellinge of Coffee & Chucalettoe." 

April 24, 1 67 1, the selectmen recorded that "Cap' 
James Johnson & Abell Porter are aproved of to sell 
Coffee and Chucalatto for the yeare ensueinge." 

These and other licenses were renewed annually 
for three or four years, after which, for some reason, 
they seem to have been withheld. 

October 30, 1676, the following minute was made 
by the selectmen : — 

"Upon the motion of severall Merchants & Gentlemen of this 
towne that some person may be allowed to sell Coffee, John 
Sparry is aproved of by the select men to keepe a publique 
house for sellinge of Coffee, if y e honored 1 Countie Court shall 
be pleased to admit him." 

At a meeting of the selectmen, April 23, 1677, 
John Sparry was approved " to sell CofHe by retayle 
& onely Coffee." 

April 29, 1678, John Sparry was approved "to sell 
Coffee Chocolatta & Syd' by retayle." This privi- 
lege was renewed to him in 1680 and in 1682. 




5 5 



o £ 




6 5 t 






TABLES 231 

August 29, 1690, among the names of persons to 
keep " Publique Houses for Entertainm" aproved 
of by the Selectmen and returned to the Countie 
Court to be licenced," were those of Benjamine 
Harris and Daniell Vernon _" to sell Coffee, Tee & 
Chucaletto." 

May 1, 1 69 1, Joseph Hill, Benj a Harris & Robert 
Gutteridge were recommended by the selectmen of 
Boston to keep public houses " to sell Coffee Tea & 
Chuculetto." 

The first indication of the domestic use of coffee 
that we have noted is in the item, " 4 Coffy dishes, 
1 s. 4d.," found in the inventory of Mary Marshall, 
widow of Captain Samuel Marshall, of Windsor, 
Conn., made in 1683. Next, in 1686, the item, " 2 
Coffee Pots, 7 d.," is found in the inventory of 
Thomas Thacher, of Boston. In 1697-98 "Coffee 
Cups " are mentioned in the inventory of Ruth Car- 
ter, of Boston. In 1704-5 the item, "2 earthen 
cupps, 1 s. 4 d., earthen candlestick & coffe cup, 6 d. 
— is. 10 d.," is found in the inventory of Sergeant 
Nathaniel Stowe, of Middletown ; in 171 2, "2 Coffee 
dishes," in the inventory of Richard Lord, of Hart- 
ford ; and in the inventory of Captain Walter Ros- 
well, made in Boston in 1717,"! Coffe pott" and 
" 6 Coffe cups " are mentioned. From this time 
coffee pots and coffee dishes are constantly found in 
the inventories. 



232 TABLES 

The earliest allusion to the household use of tea 
that we have met with is in the item, " i Tinn Tea- 
pot," found in the inventory of Doctor Benjamin 
Orman, late of the Island of Barbadoes, made in 
Boston in 1695. Other early references are as fol- 
lows : " 1 Tee Table ; " inventory of Captain John 
Blowers, mariner, Boston, 1708. "A Tea Pott;" 
inventory of Elizur Holyoke, Boston, 1711-12. "1 
oval Tea Table Japand." " 1 Japan Tea Table splitt 
in ye Leaf;" inventory of John Wharton, Boston, 
1712-13. "A parcel China 2 old Tea Tables, £\. 
10;" inventory of Nicholas Roberts, Boston, 1 71 5. 
"1 Small Teapott, 8 s." "10 lbs of Green Tea, at 
20 s., ,£10." "5 lbs of Bohee Tea, at 40 s., ^10;" 
inventory of Captain Walter Roswell, above cited, 
1 7 1 7. After this date tea tables and tea dishes are 
found in most of the wealthy estates. . 

Chocolate is mentioned in 1679 in the inventory 
of Thomas Scott, of Boston, in such a way as to lead 
one to think that it had been obtained for domestic 
use. On the 20th of October, 1697, Sewall wrote in 
his diary, " I wait on the Lieut. Governour at Dor- 
chester, and there meet with Mr. Terry, breakfast 
together on Venison and Chockalatte." In 1704, 
" 4 China Chocolat Cups " were mentioned in the 
inventory of Samuel Shrimpton, of Boston. 



CHAPTER VII. 

CLOCKS. 

Clocks are not infrequently mentioned in the 
New England records of the seventeenth century, 
and usually belonged to well-to-do people. 

They were of two principal kinds, — one with 
works driven by weights after the old system, the 
other with works driven by a spring. The spring 
clocks were placed upon mantelpieces, cupboards, 
tables, etc., and were easily moved about; but the 
clocks with weights were fastened to the wall high 
up at the side of the room with their weights and 
chains exposed. 

In the inventory of Thomas Coytemore, of 
Charlestown, made in 1645, " a clock" is apprized at 
£1, and in that of John Cotton, made in 1652-53, 
" 1 clocke & Case, In ye great Parlour," are valued 
at £6. These, however, are the extremes in prices, 
the average valuation of thirty-six clocks taken with- 
out selection from inventories between the years 
1645 an d 1689 being £2. 12. 

The kinds of clocks mentioned are few. The 
ordinary entry is clock. Among the thirty-six above 



234 CLOCKS 

referred to there were four with cases, two brass 
clocks, " a watch clock or alarum ; " "A Clock w th 
apertenances, In ye Study;" and "a clock, line and 
lead." 

There are among us to-day but few remaining 
examples of these early colonial timepieces. From 
these specimens, as well as from those of the same 
period to be seen in Europe, we may form a toler- 
ably good idea of the clocks in use in New England 
from the first settlements down to the advent of 
eight-day clocks in cases reaching from the floor 
nearly to the ceiling. 

The oldest style of clock found in New England, 
and, we believe, the one altogether the most used in 
the seventeenth century, is represented in Fig. 107. 
This clock belongs in the Hosmer collection. It 
was picked up a few years since in Hartford, Conn., 
where it had probably been for considerably more 
than two centuries. It is made of brass, excepting, 
of course, the bell and its hammer. Its hight to the 
top of the perforated plates is ten and a quarter 
inches, and to the top of the turned ornament on 
the bell, fourteen and a quarter inches. The front 
is richly engraved. The dial is six and three six- 
teenths inches in diameter, and is finished in brass, 
with black numerals on the hour circle. In the 
centre of the dial is a wheel to regulate the alarum. 
This clock was made to stand on a bracket fixed to 



CLOCKS 235 

the wall. Others were simply hung against the wall 
by a loop, and these had a couple of pins projecting 
from their backs, to be pressed into the wall for 
steadying the clock. 

These clocks are well known to antiquaries. They 
have become very scarce in this country, but are not 
uncommon in England, where they are known under 
various names, as " lantern," " birdcage," " sheeps- 
head," and " button and pillar clocks." They are 
traced back with certainty to the early part of the 
sixteenth century, but in giving further details of 
their history we shall quote from the pen of the late 
Octavius Morgan, who was not only one of the most 
noted collectors of old clocks and watches, but was 
also recognized as the best English authority in mat- 
ters pertaining to their origin and history. 

In 1S83 Mr. S. James A. Salter pointed out in 
"Notes and Queries," sixth series, vol. vii. p. 165, 
the need of a better chronological collection of 
clocks in the South Kensington Museum ; and, in 
referring to the clocks now under consideration, 
said: — 

" Fifteenth Century clocks. — Under this name the dealers in 
old art furniture and curiosities sell clocks of considerable beauty 
and some antiquity. They were made soon after 1500 and up to 
1700. But I doubt if any were really made in the fifteenth cen- 
tury, and the dealers seem to mean that they were made before 
1600. They are of brass, nearly cubical in figure, about 8-1 1 
inches high, and surmounted by a large cupola-shaped exposed 



236 CLOCKS 

bell. The dial, brass or of white metal, is well engraved ; min- 
utes are not indicated, but the hours are divided into quarters ; 
they had but one — the hour — hand. The original works went but 
a little over twenty-four hours, and a single weight, regulated by 
a long pendulum, supplied the power. They stood on brackets, 
with a slit for the pendulum and two holes for the weight-chain. 
On the dial the name and locality of the maker were nearly 
always engraved, and often the date. I have one made by Rich. 
Rayment, Bury St. Edmunds, date not given. The tone of the 
bells is extremely beautiful, especially when softened by a pad of 
buff-leather on the hammer. The earliest of these clocks that I 
have seen was dated 1539, the latest 1686. I should be glad of 
information respecting others, — name, locality, and date." 

To this communication Mr. Octavius Morgan re- 
sponded in " Notes and Queries," sixth series, vol. vii. 
p. 371, and, besides many other very valuable and 
interesting facts, gave the following history of these 
clocks : — 

" The domestic clocks divide themselves into two classes, 
those which go by weights, and those of which the motive power 
is a coiled spring, which was not applied till about 1500 ; and 
these spring clocks form the class of chamber and table clocks. 
The weight clocks, which the dealers are apt to call fifteenth 
century clocks, are, in fact, the work of the sixteenth and seven- 
teenth centuries — at least, I have never heard of one earlier. 
The description of these clocks has been given so accurately in 
' N. & Q.,' 6th S. vii. 165, by Mr. Salter, that it is useless to 
repeat it. But there is something remarkable about them. 
They are peculiarly English ; they are all made of brass, and 
precisely similar in form and design ; and they seem to have 
been cast upon the world suddenly and early in the sixteenth 





2 I 
5 






CLOCKS 237 

century, and to have lasted unchanged for nearly two centuries. 
All clockmakers at that time seem to have adopted the same 
pattern, and to have preserved it without any variation, and with 
similarity of form, mechanism, and ornament, as though they had 
worked to a regulation pattern. I cannot help fancying that 
there may have been a large manufactory or brass foundry, in 
London or some other place, where the frames and bells were all 
cast, from which the clockmakers in London and all over the 
country were supplied with the various parts of clocks, which 
they fitted together, as they are from Clerkenwell and, I think, 
Coventry at the present day ; for it is difficult to understand how 
every country clockmaker should have cast, turned, and made 
his own brass frames and dials precisely similar to those of all 
the other clockmakers in London and all the provincial towns. 
And I am strongly disposed to think that the manufacture of 
clocks and clockwork was at that time, early in the sixteenth 
century, established at Clerkenwell, and that the country clock- 
makers were supplied from there ; and thus Clerkenwell has 
continued to be the great manufactory for clocks to the present 
time. This idea is, I think, somewhat borne out by the fact of 
the exact resemblance of so many of the perforated brass orna- 
mental plates, above the dials and sides of these clocks, to con- 
ceal the bells, which form a cupola at the top. One common 
pattern has two dolphins with intertwined tails ; another has a 
small square-shaped escutcheon in the centre ; whilst a third has 
only pierced scroll-work. The front plate is generally engraved, 
the side-pieces being left plain. Some clocks have the name of 
the maker, the name of the town, and the date engraved on the 
front, and some on the dial. . . . 

" Now with regard to the ' movements ' of these clocks. All 
clocks made before 1660 had an escapement consisting of a 
crown-wheel and a vertical verge with a horizontal balance. In 
1661, Ahasuerus Fromantil, a Dutch clockmaker, settled in Lon- 



238 CLOCKS 

don, first made clocks with short pendulums, which he exhibited 
in London in that year, creating a sensation in the town, for all 
people went to see his clocks. . . . 

" The old brass clocks went only thirty hours, and were set in 
motion by a weight attached to a chain, which passed over a 
sheave having spikes in the groove, which caught in the links of- 
the chain, and required to be drawn up every day. There was a 
counterpoise at the other end of the chain, and sometimes a sin- 
gle weight was contrived to serve both the going and striking 
parts, and there was occasionally an alarum." 

Another style of clock with weights, very pictur- 
esque in appearance, which was in use in New Eng- 
land in the last half of the seventeenth century, is 
represented in Fig. 108. The specimen here shown 
belongs to Charles W. Haddock, M. D., of Beverly, 
Mass., having been purchased by his father, the late 
Charles Haddock, M. D., also of Beverly, from the 
descendants of Captain Benjamin Obear. 

A notice of this clock, with a very good illustra- 
tion, was published in the " Salem Observer," Feb- 
ruary 16, 1S81. From this we learn that "it was 
brought from Amsterdam, Holland, in the year 1663, 
by Captain Foster, whose daughter married Captain 
Benjamin Obear. From their descendants the clock 
was purchased by the doctor, in a very dilapidated 
condition, as it had been considered worthless for 
the past fifty years. . . . This clock was entrusted 
to Mr. Geo. A. Collins, of Beverly, now of 198 Essex 
Street, Salem, to repair, with the instructions to spare 







Fig 104 
A DUTCH TEA TABLE 



CLOCKS 239 

no expense, but to preserve the original design, pro- 
portions, and finish, which is one of the most elab- 
orate and beautiful patterns." 

According to the best Dutch antiquaries, clocks 
of this style were made in Holland, especially in its 
northern provinces, from about 1640 to 1700. 

The movement of this clock is regulated by the 
bob pendulum and crown escapement ; a combina- 
tion in horology which began with the practical 
application of the pendulum to clocks by Huyghens 
in 1657. But as this escapement was continued in- 
definitely after the adoption of the long pendulum in 
1680, it cannot be relied upon as proof that a clock 
in which it is found was made before the year 
1680. 

To what extent clocks of this kind were brought to 
New England in the seventeenth century it would 
now be impossible to tell. The only other example 
known to the writer is in his own possession. It 
was bought in 1889 from a farmer in Portsmouth, 
R. I. It has the same hooded bracket and painted 
mermaids seen in the Haddock clock, and its move- 
ment is also presided over by the bob pendulum and 
crown escapement. 

Another style of Dutch clock in use in Europe in 
the seventeenth century is shown in Fig. 109. We 
have not seen any old examples of this kind in New 
England, but it is altogether likely that such clocks 



240 CLOCKS 

were in use here in the seventeenth century. The 
specimen here illustrated was bought in Amsterdam 
in 1886, and belongs to the writer. 

It is highly probable that there were a few spring 
clocks among the early New England timepieces, as- 
we know that they were in use in England in the 
seventeenth century. We have, however, no exam- 
ples of that period to which we are able to refer, nor 
can we determine from the language of the inven- 
tories that any of the thirty-six clocks above referred 
to were of this variety, as no spring, table, mantel, or 
chamber clocks are mentioned. 

A very good example of the better class of spring 
clocks made in England from about 1650 to 1700 is 
shown in Fig. 110. It is in an ebonized case richly 
mounted in gilded brass. It was made to be looked 
at from all sides. The back has a door exactly like 
the one in front, through which is seen the bob pen- 
dulum and the back plate richly chased and en- 
graved with the name " Charles Gretton, London," 
which also appears on the dial over the hour circle. 
Charles Gretton was admitted as a member of the 
Clockmakers' Company of London in 167 1, and we 
know that he was living in 1697, from his advertise- 
ment in the " London Gazette," October 7-1 1 of 
that year. This clock belongs to the writer, who 
bought it in London in the summer of 1886. 

We now come to a period in which clocks with 




Fig. 105 
THE TABLE SHOWN IN FIG. 104, WITH TOP TURNED UP 



CLOCKS 241 

weights assume an entirely new role as articles of 
household furniture. It is believed by those who 
have studied the matter carefully that clocks did not 
begin to be inclosed in tall cases till after the adop- 
tion of the long pendulum, which dates from the year 
1680, and that the immediate object of the long 
clock case was the protection of the pendulum, which 
from its increased length had become more liable to 
be disturbed by external influences. 

The earliest designs for tall clock cases that are 
known are those made by Daniel Marot, and pub- 
lished about 1702. 

That they were made considerably earlier than the 
date of these designs is rendered highly probable by 
such facts as the following : — 

In 1883 Octavius Morgan said, in "Notes and 
Queries," sixth series, vol. vii. p. 372, that he then 
had in his collection one of Thomas Tompion's 
clocks, with a beautiful set of chimes, in a tall mar- 
quetry case made about 1690. 

In 1696 the items, " 1 clock ,£20, in the dining- 
room," and " 1 repeating clock, ,£10, In my Ladie's 
room," appear in the inventory of Sir William Phips, 
of Boston. As the average valuation of New Eng- 
land clocks down to this time had been about 
£2 12 s., this sudden bound in price is very remark- 
able, and can be best explained by supposing the 
first of these clocks at least to have been an eight- 



242 CLOCKS 

day clock in a tall and handsome wooden case. It 
is, moreover, not improbable that Sir William pur- 
chased these clocks in London, where he had had 
many opportunities for seeing the latest fashions, and 
that he brought them with him when he returned to 
Boston in 1692 with the royal commission as gov- 
ernor of Massachusetts. 

In 1695 "one clock, In the great Hall" was valued 
at ,£10 in the inventory of Captain Andrew Craty, 
of Marblehead ; and another at ^20, in 1698-99, 
in the inventory of James Mackman, of Windsor, 
Conn. For the reason above given these were also, 
in all probability, early long pendulum clocks in tall 
cases. 

The tall-cased clocks which thus appear to have 
been introduced into New England in the last de- 
cade of the seventeenth century steadily grew in 
favor. This is shown by the increased number of 
high-priced clocks inventoried in the early years of 
the eighteenth century. They were, however, not 
valued as high as £10. The prices from 1700 to 
1 712, before the currency began to depreciate, 
ranged from nine up to twelve pounds. After this 
they rose to ^"20 in 1721 ; to ^"35 in 1732 ; to £\o in 
1738; and finally, in one instance, as high as ,£120 
in 1748. But this constant advance in price was 
due almost wholly to the steady depreciation of the 
paper money in which these values were expressed, 







Fig. 106 
A HEPPELWHITE CARD TABLE 



CLOCKS 243 

so that the silver value of none of these high-priced 
clocks, except the last, reached as high as ^"20. It 
is, therefore, reasonable to suppose that the clocks 
which we have cited from the inventories of Sir 
William Phips and Mr. Mackman were placed at too 
high a figure, a mistake liable to occur to apprizers 
who had probably never before seen such clocks, 
and were therefore without guide as to their value. 

The new eight-day clocks did not at once drive 
out the old-fashioned brass clocks. The latter were 
not only continued in use, but also in many instances 
were improved as timekeepers by the substitution of 
the long pendulum for the older escapements. We 
know that these old clocks were altered in Eng- 
land to keep pace with the improvements of the day, 
and we have evidence in the following notices that 
such changes in their mechanism were made in this 
country also : — 

" This is to give Notice to all Gentlemen and others, that there 
is lately arrived in Boston from London, by the way of Pensil- 
vania, a Clock Maker : If any person or persons hath any occa- 
sion for New Clocks, or to have Old Ones turn'd into Pendelums ; 
or any other thing either in making or mending : Let them repair 
to the Sign of the Clock Dial of the South side of the Town- 
House in Boston, where they may have them done at reasonable 
Rates. Per James Batterson." — The Boston News-Letter, No. 
182, October, 1707. 

This notice is repeated in Nos. 188 and 189, in 
November of the same year. 



244 CLOCKS 

The advertisement of another clockmaker pre- 
pared to change the escapements of old clocks is 
here given : — 

"This is to give Notice that Isaac Webb Watch-maker and 
Clock-maker, that formerly Liv"d the next Door to the Royal-Ex- 
change Tavern near to the East End of the Town-House in 
Boston, is now Removed over-against the West-End of the said 
Town-House in the High-street the Second Door from Prison- 
Lane, at the Sign of the Clock Dial that goes against the side of 
the House : So that if any Person or Persons wants any Clocks 
to be made, or any Old Clocks to be turned into Pendelums, or 
Watches and Clocks to be mended, or Glasses, Keys, Springs, or 
Chains of the best sort ; Let them repair to the said Webb, 
where they may be served on reasonable Terms." — The Boston 
News-Letter, No. 207, March 29 to April 5, 1708. 

It is highly probable from the language of these 
notices that Isaac Webb had practiced his art a 
longer time in Boston than James Batterson. How 
early clockmaking was begun in New England we 
do not know. In the administration accounts of the 
estate of Peter Noyes, of Sudbury, Mass., there is an 
item of seven shillings " Pd Mr. Smith ye Clock- 
maker," dated May 16, 1694. This is the earliest 
mention of a clockmaker that we have seen in the 
New England records. 

The following facts relating to the ringing: of the 
bell and care of the town clock of Boston are quoted 
from the records of the selectmen as published by the 
Record Commissioners. 



CLOCK'S 245 

In the " Second Report of the Boston Record 
Commissioners," we find that at a meeting of the 
selectmen of Boston on the 4th of June, 1649, it was 
agreed that " Rich. Taylor is to ringe the bell at 9 
of the cloke at night and half an houre after foure 
in the morninge and is to have for his recompence 
4 1. a yeare, begininge his year the 24 : 4th mo., 
1649." 

January 25, 1657, the selectmen ordered that 
" Richard Taylor is allowed thirty shillings for re- 
pairing the clock for his direction to ring by, and is 
to have five pounds per annum for the future, pro- 
vided hee bee att charges to keepe a clock and to 
repayre itt." 

In the " Seventh Report of the Boston Record 
Commissioners," we read that at a meeting of the 
selectmen of Boston, held on the 26th of October, 
1668, " Richard Taylor is ord rd to haue £5. p. an. 
for his takeinge care of the towne clocke ; the yeare 
to expire the first day of June next." 

February 27, 1670-71, the selectmen "agreed with 
Thomas Matson sen r to looke after the towne clocke 
and keepe it in good repaire from the first of March 
next for one yeare next ensueinge, & to haue 10? for 
his paines about it." 

February 23, 1673, the selectmen "agreed with 
Giles Dyer to keepe the clocke from the 25 th of 
March next for one yeare for which he is to haue 



246 CLOCKS 

£6, and ordered the treasurer to pay him propor- 
tionablie for 10 months past." 

March 29, 1675, tne selectmen " agreed with Giles 
Dyer for keepinge of the towne clocke for ye yeare 
ensueinge, for w ch he was to be allowed 6 pounds in 
mony, or other pay equivalent beside his owne town 
rate." 

March 26, 1676, the selectmen " agreed with Giles 
Dyer to keepe the clocke a*t ye First Meetinge house 
for the yeare ensueinge for £6. as in folio 90." 

March 29, 16S0, the selectmen "allowed Giles 
Dyer towards settinge up y e clocke at y e north Meet- 
inge House 5 !d , & for keepinge of both Clockes in 
good ord r and attendinge at ye old Meetinge house 
4 yeares, 24 ld , & y' at ye north end since it was last 
set up, 1 i ld ." 

July 28, 1684, the selectmen "agreed with W m 
Sumner blacksmith to pay him 4 lds in mony to keepe 
the clocke at y e North end of the Towne for one 
yeare to begin the I st of Aug 4 next & to pay him 
for worke done about s d clocke the year past, 14 s 
mony." 

March 17, 1689-90. "At the meetinge of the 
Selectmen this day it was Agreed betweene them on 
the behalfe of the towne and Robert Williams that 
he shall continue as formerlie to warne the Towne 
Meetings upon occasion, to ringe the bell at Five of 
the Clocke in y e morninge, Exchange Bell at eleauen 




Fig. 107 
BRASS BIRDCAGE CLOCK 
Seventeenth century 



CLOCKS 247 

of y e clocke, and at nine in the night, & carfullie 
looke after & keepe the Towne clocke in the old 
Meetinge house." 

In the " Eleventh Report of the Boston Record 
Commissioners," we find the following minute made 
by the selectmen on February 16, 1 701-2: "Sam- 
uell Clough his acco' for mending the Town house 
Clock, he is allowed 1 2/ 8." 

February 28, 1708-9, the selectmen "agreed w th 
Isaac Webb that he alter the Town clock now 
Standing being in the Old Meeting- House, and 
make the Same into an eight day Clock, he to find 
all Materialls for y e doing thereof, and cause the 
Same to go well to the Satisfaction of the Select 
men for which he is to be paid the Sume of Thirteen 
pounds And after the Same is So done he is duly 
to Attend wind up and Keep clean the Same yearly, 
to the Select mens Satisfaction and for his S d Ser- 
vice he is to be Allowed & paid fifty two Shillings 
p. Annum, the S d Select men are to bear y e charge 
of Joyners worke to inclose the S d clock." 

Isaac Webb evidently had the care of the town 
clock till 1 71 7, when Benjamin Bagnall, a celebrated 
clockmaker, was appointed to the office, and, so far 
as we are able to tell from the records of the select- 
men, held it more or less continuously down to the 
year 1736. 

It is evident that the clock referred to in the min- 



248 CLOCKS 

utes of the selectmen made on the 25th of January, 
1657, was kept in the house of Richard Taylor. It 
was, therefore, probably one of the little brass lan- 
tern clocks, of the style illustrated in Fig. 107. This 
would indicate that the town had not yet obtained 
a large public or turret clock, such as we may sup- 
pose was afterward set up in the First and in the 
North Meeting Houses. 

We have here, then, the names of several men 
who in succession had the care of the town clocks of 
Boston for about eighty-seven years. It is fair to 
assume that the town authorities selected competent 
men for this duty, and that naturally some of them 
would be clockmakers by trade, especially after the 
town clocks had become public clocks. But so far 
as we have ascertained, none of them were clock- 
makers before the time of Isaac Webb. Richard 
Taylor appears to have been merely a bellringer. 
The trades of Giles Dyer and Robert Williams are 
not given in the records that we have examined to 
determine this point. Thomas Matson was a gun- 
smith, William Sumner a blacksmith, and Samuel 
Clough a joiner. 

From this history of the town clocks of Boston — 
that such mechanics as gunsmiths, blacksmiths, and 
joiners were selected as their official keepers and re- 
pairers down to 1 709, and that after this time clock- 
makers were regularly chosen for this purpose — we 




Fig. 108 
A DUTCH HANGING CLOCK 



CLOCKS 249 

may infer that there were no clockmakers in Boston 
much before the year 1709 whose reputation for 
skill in the management and repair of clocks was 
superior to that of other craftsmen. 

This conclusion is somewhat at variance with 
such facts and considerations as the following:: That 
other fields of labor in New England were supplied 
with skilled mechanics at a much earlier date; that 
the existence of a great many clocks and watches in 
Boston rendered it very desirable on the part of their 
owners that a good watchmaker should be at hand 
to keep them in running order; that if the town 
clocks were turret clocks it would seem that a skill- 
ful clockmaker was necessary to set them up ; that 
we have the record of one New England clockmaker 
as early as 1694; and that we know from a letter 
published in the " Pennsylvania Magazine," vol. iv. 
p. 194, that there was "one Clock and Watch- 
maker" in Philadelphia in 1690, a few years only 
after the town was settled, and how long; he had 
been there is not stated. 

These objections are weighty, but hardly sufficient 
to offset the one salient fact that the care of the 
public clocks of Boston does not appear to have 
been intrusted to a clockmaker before the time of 
Isaac Webb. 

It will not seem so incongruous that Thomas 
Matson, a gunsmith, and William Sumner, a black- 



250 CLOCKS 

smith, should have had the care of the town clock 
of Boston, when we reflect that blacksmiths were 
the earliest makers of clocks and watches, and that 
the art of the clockmaker was really a development 
from the older trade of the blacksmith. Among the 
members of the Clockmakers' Company of London 
there were many blacksmiths who were actively 
engaged in clockmaking, some as late as the close 
of the seventeenth century. 

The most descriptive clockmakers advertisement 
to be found in the early files of " The Boston News- 
Letter" is the following, taken from No. 447, No- 
vember, 1 7 1 2 : — 

" These are to give Notice to all Gentlemen, Merchants and 
Others, That there is lately arriv'd from Great Britain to this 
Place, Mr. Joseph Essex, who now keeps Shop in Buttler's 
Buildings in King Street, Boston, and performs all sorts of 
New Clocks and Watch works, viz. 30 hour Clocks, Week 
Clocks, Month Clocks, Spring Table Clocks, Chime Clocks, 
quarter Clocks, quarter Chime Clocks, Church Clocks, Terret 
Clocks, and new Pocket Watches, new repeating Watches ; 
Likewise doth give any Gentlemen, &c. Tryal before Payment of 
either Clock or Watches, and after Payment for 12 months will 
oblige himself to Change either Clock or Watch, if not liked, or 
else return his Money again : These Articles to be performed by 
the abovesaid Joseph Essex and Thomas Badley." 

We have no knowledge of any clocks made by 
James Batterson, Isaac Webb, Joseph Essex, or 
Thomas Badley. It is, however, not improbable 



CLOCKS 25 1 

that such clocks still exist in New England. The 
following- notice occurs in " The Boston Gazette," 
No. 73, April 27 to May 1, 1721 : — 

"All Persons that have any Claim or Demand on the Estate of 
Thomas Badely late of Boston Watchmaker, Deceased Intestate, 
represented Insolvent ; are hereby Notifyed, to bring in their 
Claims," etc. 

In No. 611 of "The Boston News-Letter," De- 
cember 26 to January 2, 171 5, is an advertisement 
in which the name of William Claggett occurs. 
This was, doubtless, the William Claggett who 
afterwards settled in Newport, R. I., and became 
there so prominent as a church disputant and so 
celebrated as a clockmaker. It was probably in- 
serted soon after his arrival in Boston, and is, per- 
haps, the earliest New England record in which his 
name appears. It reads as follows : — 

"To be Sold a new Fashion'd Monethly Clock & Case lately 
arrived from London, also a new Fashion'd Camblet Bed lin'd 
with Satten, to be seen at Mr. William Clagget jun. Clock-Maker 
near the Town-House." 

In the notice of William Claggett, contained in 
the " Collections of the Rhode Island Historical 
Society," vol. vii. pp. 246, 247, we read that he is 
said to have come to this country from Wales, and 
to have lived first in Boston. This advertisement 
proves that he was living in Boston as early as 171 5, 



252 CLOCKS 

and that he was then probably at work there at his 
trade. That he was not a native of this country is 
rendered quite certain by a passage in his book, 
entitled " A Looking-Glass For Elder Clarke and 
Elder Wightman," etc., published in Newport in 
1 72 1, in which (page 23) he makes Elder Clarke 
speak of him as " a Young Man, and a Stranger 
just come into the Country, as it were." 

Specimens of William Claggett's clocks are pre- 
served in Providence and Newport, R. I. 

Benjamin Bagnall, to whom we have already re- 
ferred, was another excellent clockmaker of this 
period. According to information furnished by the 
Reverend W. R. Bagnall, one of his descendants, he 
was born about 1689, in England, where he un- 
doubtedly learned his trade. He settled in Boston 
about 1 71 2, and began then or very soon after to 
make clocks and to repair watches. 

At a meeting of the selectmen of Boston on the 
13th of August, 1 71 7, it was voted "that m r Joseph 
Wadsworth, Will m Welsted Esq r & Habijah Savage 
Esq r , be desired to Treat w th m r Benj a Bagnald ab l 
makeing a Town Clock." 

The following notes relating to this clock were 
made by the selectmen at their meeting on the 9th 
of September, 1718: — 

" M r Benj" Bagnald haveing in now an order for his being paid 
in full for his makeing the Town-Clock. He now promises the 



r 



<*t 







'■ 



Fig. 109 
A DUTCH CLOCK 

SEVENTEENTH CENTURY 



CLOCKS 253 

Sel. men to do what Shall be further needfull to Compleat & 
finish the Same ; and if desired he will make the Same to go as 
an eight day Clock in the place where it now Stands." 

The earliest house clock of his make of which we 
have any history is now in the possession of Mr. 
William Durant, of Boston. It is a pendulum clock 
in a tall case. The original case, which was of pine, 
is missing, having been replaced in 1872 by one of 
mahogany. Upon the inside of the lower door of 
the old case was the inscription, " This clock put up 
January 10, 1722." 

Another clock by Benjamin Bagnall, very similar 
to the preceding, belongs to the New England 
Historic Genealogical Society of Boston. Its case, 
which is quite plain, is made of solid black walnut. 

A very fine clock made by Benjamin Bagnall is 
shown in Fig. in. It is in the Hosmer collection 
at Hartford. Its case is made of black walnut 
veneered upon pine. The pine so used is a dis- 
tinguishing feature of old American -made cases. 
Most of the old European clock cases have their 
veneers laid upon oak. 

This clock has a well - authenticated history of 
having belonged to the Reverend Elisha Williams, 
President of Yale College from 1725 to 1739. Its 
dial, as in all of the Bagnall clocks of which we have 
knowledge, is rather small, being but twelve inches 
square. Upon the arched extension of the dial 



254 CLOCKS 

above is a circular plate silvered and engraved with 
the name of the maker. 

Two clocks made by Samuel Bagnall, of Boston, 
a son of Benjamin Bagnall, are known to the writer. 
One belongs to Mrs. W. R. Dupee, of Chestnut Hill, 
Mass. ; the other, a very fine specimen, to Mr. Eben- 
ezer Gay, of Boston. Each has the name Samuel 
Bagnall on its dial. 

The excellence of our older eighteenth century 
clocks as timepieees has often been commented 
upon by writers. It has been said that they were 
fully equal to those made in Europe during the 
same period. The explanation of this is found in 
the history now given of some of our early clock- 
makers. They had learned their trade in England, 
and came to this country thoroughly equipped to 
practice it. Moreover, they were enabled to keep 
pace with European improvements and fashions by 
means of the clocks which were constantly being 
imported, as well as by fresh arrivals of clockmakers 
themselves. 

From the beginnings thus briefly traced the use 
of these tall clocks gradually extended. As time- 
keepers they were vastly superior to the clocks which 
had preceded them, and from their beauty and state- 
liness they became objects of popular desire as fur- 
niture. 

At first there were but few makers, and these 








Fig. 110 
A SPRING CLOCK BY CHARLES GRETTON, LONDON 
Second half seventeenth century 



CLOCKS 255 

were confined to the larger and more important 
places. But as the demand increased, clockmaking 
sprang up at various points in New England, and in 
the last half of the century was practiced not only in 
the larger towns, but also in many instances in vil- 
lages of very inconsiderable size. These facts are 
well attested by the names and places of the makers, 
which it was the custom to put on the dials. 

In Fig. 112 is shown a very good clock made by 
Enos Doolittle, of Hartford, Conn. He began to 
make clocks there about 1772. His first advertise- 
ment is found in the " Connecticut Courant," Decem- 
ber 15, 1772, and reads as follows: — 

" Clocks. All kinds of Clocks, Surveyor's and Mariner's Com- 
passes, Made, Clean'd and Repair'd, by the Subscriber, at the 
Printing Office in Hartford. And as he has serv'd a regular 
Apprenticeship to those Branches, with the most noted Workman 
in this Colony, he flatters himself he shall be able to Supply any 
Gentlemen that will favour him with their Custom as much to 
their Satisfaction, and on as reasonable Terms as they can be 
supply'd elsewhere, and their Favours will be gratefully acknowl- 
edged by their humble Servant, Enos Doolittle. 

"December 13, 1772." 

This clock is in a handsome case made of cherry. 
On the circular plate at the top of the dial is the 
inscription, " Enos Doolittle, Hartford." It belongs 
to Mrs. Henry T. Sperry, of Hartford, Conn., having 
descended to her from her great-grandfather, General 
Roger Newberry, of Windsor, Conn. 



256 CLOCKS 

The local manufacture of clocks in these early 
days was almost a necessity, arising from the diffi- 
culty of transporting the works of one of these large 
clocks, to say nothing of its larger wooden case, to 
any considerable distance, and the need of the proper 
person to set it up and keep it in running order 
after it had reached its place of destination. All 
these difficulties were overcome by having the clock 
made on the spot, — the works by the village clock- 
maker and the case by the local cabinet-maker. 

Many of the early clock cases in England down 
to the time of mahogany were finished with veneers 
made from the burr of walnut, or other woods of 
beautiful grain, laid upon an oaken ground. In 
other instances the veneer was a rich marquetry 
with designs representing foliage, flowers, birds, etc., 
commonly known as the Dutch marquetry, which 
became fashionable in England during the reign of 
William and Mary. Another method of ornamenta- 
tion was the Chinese and Japanese lacquer work, 
which was very popular in the early part of the 
eighteenth century. 

In modern days, when the veneer and lacquer 
work of these old European clock cases have become 
too much damaged to admit of repair, they are some- 
times stripped off, and the oaken ground carved all 
over in imitation of old work. All the carving that 
we have seen on tall oaken clock cases has appeared 



v,«Lv 






Fig. 111 
CLOCK MADE BY BENJAMIN BO i 

1 HA | p fight ENTH CENTURY 



CLOCKS 257 

to be of very recent date. The oak itself was often 
old and genuine, but the carving had been lately- 
done. 

Many of the early clock cases in England were 
doubtless made with less expense, like the one be- 
longing to Thomas Tompion's clock in the Guild- 
hall collection in London. This case, which is 
eighty-two inches high, is made of pine or some 
other soft wood, and colored black. As Tompion 
died in 1713.it was probably made between the in- 
troduction of the long clock case and this date. 

The first tall clock cases that were seen in New 
England were undoubtedly imported, and served as 
patterns for those which were afterward manufac- 
tured here. The woods of which they were made 
are seldom specified in the early records. The first 
mention of them that we have noted is in the follow- 
ing advertisement from " The Boston News-Letter," 
No. 626, April 16, 1 716: — 

"Lately come from London. A Parcel of very fine Clocks, 
they go a Week, and repeat the Hour when pull'd ; in Japan 
Cases or Wall-Nut. To be Sold by Mr. William Gent, and to be 
seen at the House of Mr. Peter Thomas in Wings-Lane Boston." 

The case of Sir William Phips's clock, valued at 
^"20, was more probably finished with Dutch mar- 
quetry than with lacquer work, as the former was 
then the Court fashion, which Sir William, being a 



258 CLOCKS 

recipient of royal honors, would be likely to follow in 
selecting a clock in London. 

It does not appear that the Dutch marquetry was 
copied in New England. It required cabinet-makers 
of special skill for its execution; besides we do not 
find old examples of such work here, nor mention of 
them in the inventories. 

Japanned clock cases, however, or at least imita- 
tions of them, were doubtless made here. We have 
seen that japanning was practiced in Boston as early 
as 1 71 2, and japanned clock cases are not only men- 
tioned in the inventories down to the middle of the 
eighteenth century, but examples of the cases them- 
selves are occasionally seen to-day. 

In 1725, " 1 fine black Walnut Clock, In the Set- 
ting Roome," was apprized at £20 in the inventory 
of Henry Franklin, merchant, of Boston ; and in 
1729 the item, " 1 Eight Day Clock black Walnut 
Case, ^"24," appears in the inventory of William 
Welsteed, merchant, of Boston. We have already 
seen that the cases of two of Benjamin Bagnall's 
clocks were made of black walnut, one of the solid 
wood, the other of black walnut veneered on pine. 

Black walnut was the wood most in use in Massa- 
chusetts for fine cabinet work down to the general 
adoption of mahogany, and tall clock cases with 
veneers of this wood are frequently met with in that 
commonwealth. The native wood the most em- 



CLOCKS 259 

ployed in Connecticut for clock cases, and, indeed, 
for all other kinds of cabinet work in the eighteenth 
century, was that of the American wild cherry tree. 

Clocks with black cases are occasionally mentioned 
in the inventories. A good deal of furniture in the 
first half of the eighteenth century was colored black. 
It is quite likely that many of these black clock 
cases were made of pine or whitewood. 

The earliest record of a mahogany clock case in 
New England that we have noted is in the follow- 
ing advertisement from " The Boston Weekly News- 
Letter," No. 2017, November 18, 1742: — 

"Just Imported, and to be Sold by Edmund Entwisle, at Mr. 
Pullen's in Cross-Street, Boston. . . . 

" Likewise a fine Clock, a Description of which is as follows, 
viz. It goes 8 or 9 Days with one winding up, and repeats the 
Hour it struck last when you pull it, the Dial is 13 Inches on the 
Square, and arched with a semi-Circle on the Top, round which 
is a strong Plate with this Motto, (Time shews the Way of Life's 
Decay) well engrav'd and silver'd ; within the Motto-Ring it 
shews from behind two semi-Spheres, the Moon's Increase and 
Decrease by two curious painted Faces, ornamented with golden 
Stars between, on a blue Ground, and a white Circle on the out- 
side divided into Days figur'd at every Third, on which Divisions 
is shewn the Age by a first Index from the Top, as they pass by 
the great Circle is divided into three concentrick Collums, on the 
outmost of which it shews the Minute of each Hour, and the 
middlemost the Hours, etc., the innermost is divided into 31 
equal Parts figur'd at every other, on which is shewn the Day of 
the Month by a Hand from the Dial Plate as the Hour and Min- 



26o CLOCKS 

ute is ; it also shews the Seconds as common, and is ornamented 
with curious Engravings in the most fashionable Manner. The 
Case is made of very good Mahogony, with quarter Collums in 
the Body, broke in the Surface, and raised Pannels, with Quarter 
Rounds, Cross-Bands, and Strings : The Head is ornamented 
with gilded Capitals, Bases, and Frise, with new fashion'd Balls 
composed of Mahogany, with gilt Laves and Flames. 

" As the said Mr. Entwisle don't intend to stay above three or 
four Days in Town, and sells all for ready Money, he will sell at 
low Prices. The last Day of Sale will be on Saturday, by reason 
the Ship that he goes in is so well repair'd as to be able to pro- 
ceed on her intended Voyage." 

The first mahogany clock case that we have run 
across in the inventories belonged to the estate of 
Thomas Fillebrown, of Boston, apprized in 1754. It 
was in the " Keeping Room," and the item referring 
to it reads as follows: "A Clock Mehogony Case, 
;£io." This valuation was in silver money. 

In the last decade of the century clock cases of 
all kinds, especially of mahogany and cherry, began 
to be inlaid with little bands or strings of light- 
colored woods, such as satin and holly, after the 
style of Heppelwhite. 

The dials of the older eight-day clocks were often 
very handsomely finished. They were made with a 
groundwork of brass, on which were placed the hour 
circle and the seconds dial. These latter were of 
considerable thickness, and, besides, were made to 
contrast strongly in color with the background by 



V 



JP ' 



Fig. 112 

CLOCK MADE BY ENOS DOOLITTLE OF HARTFORD 

Second half eighteenth century 



CLOCKS 261 

being silvered and marked with black numerals. 
The portion of the brass ground lying within the 
hour circle was often richly frosted and engraved. 
The angles or spandrels outside of this circle were 
enriched with brass ornaments. 

The earlier dials were square-shaped, but in the 
reign of Queen Anne they began to be made with 
a semi-circular extension above. This was due, not to 
any change in the construction of the works, but 
wholly to the altered shape of the case, the head of 
which was now built with the arched door and pedi- 
ment, in obedience to the architectural fashion which 
a little later wrought a similar change in the high 
chests of drawers. This arched extension of the 
dial upwards was variously decorated ; sometimes 
with the moon and stars on a blue ground ; some- 
times with the figure of Time, or of a ship driven 
alternately forward and backward by the clock move- 
ment. In other instances this space was mainly 
occupied by a plate on which were graven the name 
and place of the maker. 

These dials continued to be made clown to the 
revolutionary war and probably to some extent dur- 
ing the long struggle. After the war plainer dials 
of brass began to appear. They were silvered all 
over, and had the hour circle cut on the surface, in- 
stead of being superimposed as in the older clocks. 

About 1790 white enameled dials, both with and 



262 CLOCKS 

without the clock movement, of English manufac- 
ture, began to come to New England, and to be 
sold, wholesale and retail, not only by dealers in 
clocks and watches, but also in some instances by 
hardware merchants. These facts are attested by the 
numerous advertisements found in the newspapers 
of those days. So that when a clock with a white 
enameled dial is met with in this country one may 
know at a glance that it was made after the revolu- 
tionary war, and in all probability after the year 
1 790. The cases of these clocks are often made of 
mahogany or cherry, with the kind of inlay which 
we have described as belonging to this period. 

We find " 1 genteel wooden Clock & Case," ap- 
prized at £5, in the inventory of Peter Verstille, of 
Hartford, Conn., who died in 1778. This is the 
earliest mention of wooden clocks that we have seen 
in our records, though they were probably made, to 
a limited extent, all through the eighteenth century. 
It is well known that clocks with wooden wheels 
were made in Europe in the seventeenth and eight- 
eenth centuries. John Harrison, of Barrow, Eng- 
land, who invented in 1726 the compound or grid- 
iron pendulum, made clocks with wooden wheels. 
One of his clocks, with its original gridiron pendu- 
lum and with the whole of the wheelwork made of 
oak, is now owned by the Clockmakers' Company of 
London, and preserved in the Guildhall collection 
already referred to. 




Fig. 113 

A FRENCH CLOCK 

Time of louis xvi 



CLOCKS 263 

Clocks with wooden works, made by Benjamin 
Cheney, of Hartford, Conn., are well known, which, 
from the period of this maker, the histories accom- 
panying them, and especially from the older style of 
their dials, could not have been made much later 
than the Verstille clock. 

During the period of cheaper clocks which fol- 
lowed the revolutionary war the manufacture of long 
case clocks with wooden works was greatly increased 
in Connecticut, and remained very prosperous down 
to 1 8 14, when it was suddenly checked by the intro- 
duction of the shelf clock with a short case, invented 
by the celebrated clockmaker, Eli Terry. Many of 
the later wooden clocks intended for tall cases were 
actually used without any case at all, simply hung 
up against the wall like the German cuckoo clocks 
and the older brass birdcage clocks, but without any 
hood or covering over them. 

At the present day these old clocks in tall cases 
are called by a variety of names, such as grandfather 
clocks, hall clocks, eight-day clocks, and, in England, 
long clocks. Under what name they went in Eng- 
land when in full fashion we do not know. Chip- 
pendale referred to his designs for their cases as 
"clock-cases" simply. In the New England inven- 
tories all through the eighteenth century clock and 
case is the entry oftenest found. This is occasionally 
varied with a description of the case, as clock and 



264 CLOCKS 

japanned case, clock with black walnut case, etc. 
Next in frequency is the expression eight-day clock, 
and although there were one-day clocks in tall cases, 
and eight-day spring clocks in little cases to set upon 
tables and mantelpieces, we are inclined to think 
that the name eight-day clock was the one by which 
the tall-case clocks were chiefly known in New Eng- 
land in the eighteenth century. Tall clocks, long 
clocks, or hall clocks, have not been mentioned in 
the numerous inventories that we have examined. 

Clocks of the kind represented in Fig. 1 1 3 made 
their appearance in this country at the close of the 
eighteenth or in the beginning of the nineteenth 
century. The style originated in France in the 
reign of Louis XVI., when the taste for classical art 
had been quickened to such an extent by the dis- 
coveries at Herculaneum and Pompeii as to affect 
architecture and the decorative arts to no inconsider- 
able degree. 

These clocks are usually mounted upon a low 
pedestal, and covered with a glass case to protect the 
works from dust. The present specimen is shown 
without its pedestal and glass covering, as the latter 
prevented the photographer from getting a good 
picture of the clock. 



APPENDIX 

A Table of Prices for Joiners' Work in Providence, R. I., in 1757, 
copied from the Original Manuscript in the Possession of Mr. 
Joseph J. Smith, of Providence, R. I. 

RULE AND PRICE OF JOYNERS' WORK. 

Providence, March y e 24 th : 1757 made By us Subscribers the 
Price of Joyners' work. 

A Loe Case of Draws @ £$■$. 

Do with Polished handels @ .£36. 

Plane Desk @ .£45 ; with Polished handels @ £48. 

Desk with two tear of Draws .£55. 

A high Case of Draws @ £70. 

Maple rule Joynt tables @ £6 Pr foot ; old fashen Joynts @ 

£s- IO - 

Common tea table @ .£10. 

Citchen table @ £12. 

Beadsted with high Posts, ,£12. 

Palet Beadsted @ £18. 

Do with Loe Posts @ ^10. 

Trundel Beadsted @ £11. 

Pine Chests with two Draws @ £22. 

D° with one Draw @ ^"16. 

Maple Chest with two Draws @ ^"26. 

D° with one Draw @ ^20. 

House Chest @ £10. 

Maple Cradel @ ,£12. 



266 APPENDIX 

Do Pine @ £10. 

Common Seat [sea] Chest @ £j. 
Do 4 feet Long @ £8. 
Mehogny Stand table @ £30. 
D° Black walnut* @ £26. 
Maple Do @ ^20. 
Maple Candel Stand @ £10. 
Do Walnot ^12. Do Mehogny @ ^16. 
Mehgny high Case of Drawers @ £100. 
Do with Crown and Claws @ ^150. 
Mehogny Chamber table @ ,£50. 
Mehogny Desk with 2 Draws @ ^90. 
Walnot D° with 2 tear of Draws ,£75. 
Black walnot high Case of Draws @ £85. 
Mehogny Rule Joynt tables @ £11 a feet. 
Walnot Do @ £ [figures gone] a foot. 
To Casen of a Desk @ ,£5. 

A Desk with two teer of Draws & y e Protitions Brought fro- 
ward £41. 

A Bedstid with Cock Tinnonts ^10. 

A Desk with two teer of Draws one Square Draw .£39. 

Gershom Carpenter. 

Grindall Rawson. 

Benja Hunt. 

John Power. 

Phillip Potter. 

Joseph Sweeting. 

The prices in this table are given in the inflated Rhode Island 
currency of the day. What they would have been in silver can 
only be roughly estimated. They are, nevertheless, very interest- 
ing, because they show the relative values of the pieces described 
in the list. 



APPENDIX 267 

A Table of Prices for Cabinet Work in Hartford, Conn., in 1792 ; 
a Copy of One of the Pamphlets printed by a Society of Cabinet- 
Makers, now in the Possession of the Author. 

Hartford, August I, 1792. 

At a meeting of the Cabinet Makers, held in this City, the 
following resolutions were agreed on by us, whose names are 
hereunto affixed, and who have formed ourselves into a Society 
for the purpose of regulating the prices of our work ; on the 
principle of dealing in Cash, and of establishing a uniformity in 
our trade for the general interest of ourselves and customers : 

Resolved, That this Society will meet on the afternoons of the 
first Mondays in November and June at 3 o'clock, and September 
and March, at 6 o'clock annually, for the purpose of making 
further improvements in our business. 

Resolved, That we will strictly conform to the prices which are 
or shall be affixed to our work ; a deviation therefrom, shall be 
deemed a forfeiture of word and honour. 



For a plain Desk, 3 feet 3 inches in length, and 

plain feet, with 3 drawers in the head, £4 7 o 

Ditto of 3 feet 6 inches long, swell'd feet, 5 00 

Ditto 3 feet 8 inches long, 5 60 

Ditto with swell'd front and 8 drawers in the head, 7 100 

Ditto with claw feet and carv'd moulding, 850 

Ditto with quarter columns, 9 00 
A Secretary, made plain, with swell'd feet, length 3 

feet 8 inches, 650 

Ditto with doors and trays, 6 10 o 

Ditto swell'd front, 8 10 o 



268 



APPENDIX 



BOOK CASES. 



For a plain Book-Case 3 A- feet long, 2 

Ditto 3 feet 8 inches long, large dental moulding, 3 

Ditto with pediment head, mitre'd doors and balls, 4 

Ditto with scrowl'd head and fluted pilasters, 5 



!7 

6 



CHEST ON CHEST. 

For a plain Chest on Chest, bottom chest 3J feet 

long, 7 

Ditto with Columns, 8 

Ditto with scrowl'd head 3 feet 9 inches long, 11 

Ditto swell'd front, claw feet and carv'd mouldings, 15 



4 

o 

10 



BEAUREAUS. • 

For a plain Bureau, plain feet, 3 feet long, 2 18 

Ditto with swell'd feet, 3 feet 4 inches long, 3 6 

Ditto with swell'd front, 3 feet long, 4 15 

Ditto 3 feet 4 inches long, 5 o 

Ditto with claw feet, 5 10 

Ditto with columns, claw feet and carv'd mouldings, 6 o 
(All trimmings for the above draws excluded?) 



tables, &c. 

For a dining Table 4^ by 5 feet, 

Ditto with six legs, 

Ditto 4 by 4 A feet, with four legs, 

Ditto 3 feet 9 inches, by 4 feet 3 inches, 

Ditto 3J by 4 feet, 

For a plain Breakfast Table, 

Ditto with stretchers, 

Ditto with drawer trim'd, 



12 

l 5 

3 
o 

16 
7 
9 

J 3 



APPENDIX 269 

Pembroke Table, ends swell'd and scollop'd top, 1 19 o 

For a small Tea Table, top 26 inches with a solid 

cap, o 19 o 

A plain Tea or Stand Table, top 3 feet 2 inches 

with box, 
Ditto with turn'd top, 
Candle Stand, 

Fire Screen, with the springs, 
Oval Tea Trays, 2 feet 2 inches by 17 inches, 
For a circular Card Table, with carv'd moulding, 3 

feet long, 
Ditto square and plain, without drawers, 
Ditto with fluted legs and carved moulding, 
Ditto with drawer in front, 
For a plain Side Board, 6 feet by 2 ditto, 
Ditto with two drawers, 

For a Cherrytree Kitchen Table, with a drawer, 
Ditto of Pine, 
For a Pine Toilet Table, 

BEDSTEADS. 

For a plain Cord Bedstead, painted red, 0140 

Ditto with pins for sacking, and screw'd, 1 60 

Ditto painted green, 1 80 
Ditto plain square high posts without screws and 

for a cord with plain teaster painted red, 130 

Ditto screw'd and for sacking bottom, 1 140 

Ditto painted green, 1 19 o 

Ditto with six pullies in the teaster, 2 10 

Ditto with two turn'd posts, 2 40 

Ditto made of Cherrytree, 2 40 

Ditto with moulding at the bottom of the two foot 

posts, 280 



I 


13 





I 


l8 








IO 








14 








13 





2 


s 





I 


9 





I 


16 





I 


19 





I 


16 





2 


2 





O 


T 7 





O 


H 





O 


8 






I 


'3 


I 


16 


o 


IO 


o 


12 



270 APPENDIX 

Ditto with two claw feet, 2 18 

Ditto with two fluted posts, 3 5 

Ditto Field Beadstead, plain turn'd posts, green, 2 5 

Ditto with screw caps, 2 8 

Ditto to turn against the wall, for cord, screwed, 

painted red without caps, 1 8 

Ditto with a teaster fram'd to screw on the wall, 
Ditto for a sacking bottom, 
Ditto for cross ditto, 
Ditto painted red with a head board, 
Ditto Child's with posts, painted red, for a cord, 

with truckles, o 13 o 

CHAIRS. 

For plain Chairs, with 5 bars or banisters for loose 

seats, 1 10 

Seats for ditto exclusive of covers, 050 

Chair frames to cover over the rails, o 19 o 

Seats for ditto exclusive of the cover and brass 

nails, 090 

Chair with two cross slats and top rail, for loose 

seats, 1 10 

Ditto with urn'd banisters for loose seats, 1 90 

EASY CHAIRS. 

For an Easy Chair, with plain or fluted legs, 

stuff'd, 440 

Ditto with claw feet, 4 10 o 

The item last quoted is found at the bottom of page 6 of the 
printed pamphlet. The remainder of the pamphlet is unfortu- 
nately lost. It probably contained a few more articles of furni- 
ture before the names of the members of the society. 



INDEX 



Advertisements, 65, 95, 99, 176, 177, 
179, 1S0, 1S3, 243, 244, 250, 251, 255, 
257, 259. 

Alcock, Dr. Samuel, inventory, 44. 

Allen, Capt. Bozone, inventory, 27. 

Allen, Capt. David, inventory, 67. 

Allyn, Matthew, inventory, 195. 

Almery, Aumbry, Ambry, 31, 32, 34, 

53- 
Ambrose, Henry, inventory, 69. 
American Antiquarian Society, 173, 

204. 
Ancient Inventories of Furniture, etc., 

37, 49- 

Ancient and Modern Furniture and 
Woodwork in the South Kensing- 
ton Museum, Pollen's, 173. 

Anderson, David, inventory, 202. 

Antiquarian Societies, inventories of, 
6,8. 

Appendix, 91, 163; table of prices for 
cabinet work, 265-269. 

Apthorp, Charles, inventory, 170, 207. 

Armoire, 32. 

Art Journal, The, 98, 157, 158, 174, 
197. 

Ash, Thomas, Windsor chairmaker, 
183. 

Ashmolean Museum at Oxford, 140, 
156. 

Atwood, John, inventory, 73, 147. 

Avery, Jonathan, inventory, 63. 

Badley, Thomas, watchmaker, 250, 
251. 



Bagnall, Benjamin, clockmaker, 247, 

252. 
Bagnall, Samuel, clockmaker, 254. 
Bagnall, Rev. W. R., 252. 
Baker, John, inventory, 60. 
Ballantine, John, inventory, 221. 
Bandy legs for furniture, 162, 163. 
Banister back chairs, 165, 17S. 
Barnard, Jane, licensed to sell coffee 

and chocolate, 230. 
Barnes, Thomas, inventory, 220. 
Batterson, James, clockmaker, 243, . 

244, 250. 
Beal, Sarah, inventory, 4. 
Beath, Adam, inventory, 167. 
Bedsteads, pTices of, 269, 270. 
Beers, William, inventory, 107. 
Bellingham, Richard, inventory, 18. 
Bellot, Hugh, Bp. of Chester, inven- 

tor y> 33> 35i S 1 j court-cupboards, 

35. 36, 43- 
Bendall, Freegrace, inventory, 202, 

226. 
Bennett, James, inventory, 223. 
Bennett, Mary, inventory, 166. 
Bethune, Henri de, Abp. of Bordeaux, 

inventory, 125. 
Betts, Charles Wyllys, bequest of, 56, 

59- 
Betts, John, inventory, 220. 
Black walnut, used for furniture, iv, 

96, 2 5 S. 

Blacksmiths, earliest makers of clocks 

and watches, 250. 
Blanchard, William, inventory, 219. 



272 



INDEX 



Blish, Abraham, inventory, 102. 

Blowers, Capt. John, inventory, 232. 

Blowers, Pyam, inventory, 131, 133. 

Board, Anglo-Saxon name for dining- 
table, 189, 190; and trestles, 191, 
192. 

Board chests, 2, 17. 

Boardman, W. F. J., slate table of, 
204. 

Boardman, William G., scrutoir of, 
123; roundabout chair, 169. 

Bond, Matthew, inventory, 123. 

Bookcase, the word not met with in 
the 17th century, 122. 

Bookcase heads, 88. 

Bookcases on the earlier scrutoirs, 
123, 12S, 129; doors of, 123; prices 
for, 26S. 

Bosse, Abraham, chairs of, 158, 160. 

Boston Gazette, 251. 

Boston News-Letter, The, 65, 129, 243, 
246, 250, 251, 257, 259. 

Boston Record Commissioners, Re- 
ports of, 230, 244, 245, 247. 

Boston records, 223. 

Bottles, cases for, made of wood, 227. 

Boxes, carved, first mention of, 5 ; 
with style of carving rarely seen in 
New England, 18, 19; carved oaken, 
of early dates, 22; or desks, no, 
116. 

Boyer, French Dictionary of, 126. 

Boyes, Antipas, inventory, 116, 199, 
215, 216, 225, 227. 

Brackets, found on old chests, 7. 

Brackett, John, inventory, 1 10, 1 13, 
158. 

Bradford, William, inventory, 5, 147. 

Brasses, S5-S9, 91, 105, 121, 204, 205. 

Brewster, William, chest, 17; inven- 
tory, 1 10 ; chair in Pilgrim Hall, 
142. 

Brickwell, Henrie, inventory, 35, 115. 

Brickwell, Thomas, Esq., inventory, 

34, 35- 
Bridges, Edmund, cupboard of, 28. 
Bronsden, Robert, inventory, 79. 



Brookhouse, Robert, chair of, 146. 

Brown, William, Jr., 182. 

Buckminster, Joseph, inventory, 43. 

Budd, Edward, a carver, 29. 

Buffets, 31, 66, 67; definition of, 36; 
first mention of, in New England, 
65 ; synonymous with corner cup- 
boards, 66 ; corner, 68 ; doors of, ' 
6S ; interiors, 68 ; of mahogany, 69. 

Building News, The, 82. 

Bulkeley, Peter, inventory, 219. 

Bullock, William, inventory, 48. 

Bureau, derivation of name, 112; in 
the Musee de Cluny in Paris, 122; 
definition of, by Boyer, 126 ; in Eng- 
lish vocabularies, 130. 

Bureau bookcases, 129; desks, 134. 

Bureau tables, earliest notice of, 131, 
132 ; found in bedrooms, 133. 

Bureaus, mentioned in an advertise- 
ment, 126; chests of drawers, 132, 
134 ; same as scrutoirs, or desks, 
127-134; prices for, 26S. 

Burnet, William, inventory, 123, 221, 
223 ; chairs of, 172. 

Burnham, Edward, 121. 

Butler, James, inventory, 79. 

Bynley, John, will of, 189. 

Cabinet Dictionary, Sheraton's, 71, 

175- 
Cabinet- Maker and Art Furnisher, 

82, 84. 
Cabinet -Maker and Upholsterer's 

Drawing-Book, Sheraton's, 71. 
Cabinet work, prices for, 267-270. 
Cabinets, 58, 12S. 
Cadeby, John, inventory, 3. 
Caillowell, Isaac, inventory, 223. 
Camden Society, wills published by, 

3> 3 1 . r 97- 

Campbell, James, chest of drawers, 86. 

Candle-box, Dr. Gibbon's, 99, 100. 

Cane, Henrietta Maria, inventory, 67. 

Carpenters' wages, 44. 

Carpets, not restricted to floor cover- 
ings, 21S. 



INDEX 



273 



Carter, Ruth, inventory, 231. 

Carve, to, English word, how used, 18. 

Carved oaken furniture, iv ; boxes, 5, 
18, 19, 22 ; chests, 5, 6 ; furniture, 6. 

Carver and Brewster chairs at Plym- 
outh, 142. 

Carvers, 29. 

Carving, the flat, of 17th century, 2, 
iS; of 16th century superior, 6; on 
chests, 9, 14-16; colored, 16, 21; 
where practiced, iS ; peculiarities 
of, 19; linear or groove, 19, 20; 
origin of that found on New Eng- 
land chests and cupboards, 2, 18-20. 

Cases of drawers, 12, 91, 94, 105-107. 
See Chests of drawers. 

Castle of Dover, accounts, 30. 

Catherine of Braganza, furniture with, 

155- 

Catlin, Abel, donor of carved oaken 
box, 22. 

Cedar chests, 17, 93. 

Cellarets, 71. See Sideboards. 

Chair, the President's, at Harvard 
College, 138 ; in Ashmolean Mu- 
seum, Oxford, 140, 156; of Con- 
necticut Historical Society, 141 ; of 
Apostle John Eliot, 142; in Old 
South Church, Boston, 147, 158; 
of Rubens, in Royal Museum, Ant- 
werp, 14S ; at Trinity College, Hart- 
ford, 14S; of Roger Williams, 151; 
given by Charles II. to John Eve- 
lyn, 156. 

Chairs, scarce in early colonial times, 
137 ; use of stools and forms for 
seats, 137 ; three distinct types of, 
in New England, 138 ; turned, found 
in English farmhouses in last cen- 
tury, 139, 140; of triangular shape 
in use in Germany and the Nether- 
lands, 141 ; developed from three- 
legged stools, 142; with arms, much 
used in New England, 142; differ- 
ent woods employed, 143, 145, 165, 
171, 172; with horizontal slats in 
the back, 143, 144 ; with flag bot- 



toms, 144, 145, 153; seats of, made 
from fibrous bark of trees, 145; 
wainscot, 145-147, 15S, 160; with 
leather seats and backs, 147-150, 
153, 156-15S, 160; covered with dif- 
ferent fabrics, 150, 151; with stuff- 
ing of salt marsh grass, 152; abun- 
dant by close of 17th century, 153; 
cane, in sets of from six to twelve, 
153-155, 160; earliest record of 
cane chairs in England, 1 56 ; high- 
backed leather, of early date, 157- 
161 ; bandy-legged, 161 ; of Chinese 
origin, 162 ; with ball and claw feet, 
163, 171 ; with horizontal slats in 
the back, 164; with banister backs, 
165 ; easy, 166-16S ; roundabout, 
first appearance of, 16S, 169 ; first 
mahogany, 169; Chippendale, 169- 
173, 175 ; Heppelwhite, 171, 185, 
186 ; double, 171, 173 ; Windsor, 
earliest dates for, 176-179; grounds 
for belief in English origin of, 182- 
185 ; advertisements of, 179, 180, 
183; Sheraton, 186, 187; prices of, 
270. 

Chamber tables, 84, 87. 

Chandler, John, donor of chair, 173. 

Chapin, Aaron, sideboard by, 72. 

Chapin, Eliphalet, chairmaker, 171. 

Chamock, Capt. John, inventory, 223. 

Cheney, Benjamin, clockmaker, 263. 

Chest on chest, prices for, 268. 

Chests, during the Middle Ages, 1 ; 
uses of, 1, 22, 24 ; in churches, 1 ; 
carved, 1-3, 6, 146; and paneled, 1, 
6, 23, 28 ; in early records, 2 ; va- 
rieties of, 2, 3, 6 ; carving on, 2, 14- 
16, 19; its origin, 2, 1S-20; without 
drawers, 6-8, 16 ; with pine lids, 
American, 7, 15, 25; with framed 
and paneled oaken lids, European, 
7 ; made of oak, 7, 10, 14-17, 24, 25, 
2S ; with one drawer, 8-10, 16, 26; 
with two drawers, 9, 11, 12, 14-16, 
26, 77, 78 ; with genuine dates, 9, 10, 
22, 23 ; made in Hartford County, 



274 



INDEX 



Conn., 15, 24, 25; with three drawers, 
rare, 16, 78 ; colors employed, 16, 
21; made of pine, 17; of cherry, 
78 ; close resemblances between 
specimens, 17; decoration of, 17, 
20, 21 ; decline in popular favor of, 
23; origin of those found in New 
England, 23-29 ; of American manu- 
facture, 24-27. 

Chests of drawers, 11-13, 22, 64; 
same as cases of drawers, 12, 105- 
107 ; not in use in England before 
17th century, 73 ; appear in New 
England records, 73 ; prices of, 73- 
75, 79, Si, 92; early types of, 74; 
not at first made high, 75, 76; 
changes in, 76, 77 ; resemblance to 
early chests with drawers, 77, 78 ; 
made of various woods, 79, Si, 82, 
87, 91-93, 96, 98, 108; with glass 
and china ware on their tops, 79, 81 ; 
mounted on legs, So, S2, 83; with 
steps for display of glass and crock- 
ery, Si, 102-105 ; with six legs, 82, 
83, 86 ; six-legged, rare in England, 
83, S4 ; with four legs, 82, 84, 86 ; 
the four and six-legged, Dutch and 
Flemish in origin, 83, 84, S6; with 
five legs, S4; brasses on drawers 
of, 85, S6, S9, 90 ; oldest types of 
brasses in New England, S5, 86; 
with flat tops, 86, 88, 10S, 131 ; 
with arched tops, 88, 89 ; charac- 
teristic details, 88 ; style most in 
vogue in New England, 89, 90; with 
writing desks, 90, 91 ; low chests 
of drawers, 91 ; made of oak, 92, 
93 ; of European use before known 
in England, 92, 93; of Japan work, 
95; of black walnut, 96; veneers 
of, 97, 98 ; of mahogany, 98, 100, 
101 ; in use till close of iSth cen- 
tury, 107 ; turned feet of, 120. 

Chetham Society, inventories of 16th 
century, 6, 33, 50, 69. 

Chetwoode, John, Esq., inventory, 38, 
43- 



Chickering, Francis, inventory, 194. 

Child, Thomas, inventory, 158. 

China ware, 102, 103, 222-224. 

Chippendale, Thomas, designs of side- 
board tables, 70, 71; for scrutoirs 
with bookcases, 12S; for bureaus 
or chests of drawers, 133; chairs, 
169-172; personal history, 173-175; 
excellence of, in carving, 1S5 ; de- 
signs for clock-cases, 263. 

Chocolate, 95 ; earliest mention of, 
230, 231 ; domestic use of, 232. 

Christ Church College, Oxford, cup- 
board at, 41, 42, 45, 46. 

Cicero's Tusculan Questions, desks in 
frontispiece, 113. 

Claggett, William, clockmaker, 251. 

Clark, James, inventory, 67. 

Clark, William (Salem), inventory, 34, 
60, 61, no, 147, 222. 

Clark, William (physician, Boston), 
inventory, 132, 133. 

Clark, William (merchant, Boston), 
inventory, 206. 

Clerkenwell, clocks manufactured at, 
237- 

Clockmakers, earliest mention of, 
244, 249 ; in Boston, 249. 

Clocks, often mentioned in records of 
17th century, 233 ; of two principal 
kinds, 233, 236; prices of, 233, 241, 
242; spring, 233, 240; with weights, 
233, 241 ; few remaining examples, 
234; oldest style of, described, 234; 
various names of, in England, 235 ; 
15th century, 235, 236; described 
in Notes and Queries, 235-237; 
made in Holland, 23S, 239 ; old 
brass, 238, 243; tall-cased, 241, 242; 
eight-day, 243; care of, in Boston, 
244-248; earliest makers of, 250; 
use of pine in American-made cases, 
253 ; English veneers laid on oak, 
253, 256; excellence of our older 
timepieces, 254; local manufacture 
of, 255, 256 ; ornamentation of, 256 ; 
woods used seldom specified, 257 ; 



INDEX 



275 



japanned cases mentioned, 25S ; 
black walnut most used in Massa- 
chusetts, wild cherry in Connecti- 
cut, 258, 259 ; with black cases, 259 ; 
earliest records of mahogany case, 
259, 260; cases of, inlaid with light- 
colored woods, 260, 262 ; dials of, 
260-262 ; with wooden works, 262, 
263 ; variety of names for, 263 ; 
with tall case, known here as eight- 
day clocks, 264 ; French style of, 
under a glass case, 264. 

Clough, Samuel, mender of Town 
house clock, 247. 

Coates, Thomas, inventory, too. 

Coffee, earliest mention of, 230, 231 ; 
domestic use of, 231. 

Coggan, John, inventory, 222. 

Coggan, Martha, inventory, 73. 

Coit, Thomas Winthrop, donor of 
chair to Trinity College, Hartford, 
149. 

Colchester, Conn., cupboard from, 54. 

Cole, Mrs. Ann, inventory, 13. 

Coleman, John, corner cupboard, 67. 

Collections, R. I. Historical Society, 
251. 

Collins, George A., clockmaker, 23S. 

Collins, Martin, inventory, 192. 

Collins, Rev. Nathaniel, inventory, 
61. 

Colonists supplied with skilled labor, 
28, 249. 

Comedy of Errors, quoted, 112, 

Commodes made in France, 76. 

Condy, William, inventory, 202. 

Connecticut Courant, 179, 255. 

Connecticut Gazette, 181. 

Connecticut Historical Society, 
chests, 8, 17 ; carved oaken box, 
22; chairs, 141, 155; tables, 195, 
200. 

Copse, John, inventory, 197. 

Corbet, mention of court - cupboard, 
33. 

Corner cupboards, not called buffets 
in England, 64 ; first record of, in 



England, 65 ; in New England 
now synonymous with buffets, 66, 
67 ; distinct in early inventories, 
66-6S. 

Cotes, Timotny, inventory, 159. 

Cotton, John, inventory, 59, 145, 147, 
194. 233. 

Court-cupboards, 33, 34, 36 ; in New 
England probate records, 34, 35 ; 
in English inventories, 34, 35, 38 ; 
in use in England, 35, 3S, 41 ; 
prices of, 35, 36, 38, 41, 43; con- 
structions and use, 36, 3S ; defini- 
tion of, 37 ; print of one in 1627 
in Laurea Austriaca, 39 ; with a 
drawer, 37,46, 52; of 16th and 17th 
centuries, 3S, 45, 46 ; the ancient 
sideboard, 39 ; with steps, 39, 40 ; 
two in Stationers' Hall, London, 
40-42, 45 ; one in the hall of Christ 
Church College, Oxford, 41, 42, 45, 
46 ; illustrations of, after Shaw, 41 ; 
after Halliwell, 41 ; variable con- 
struction of, 42 ; where found in 
New England, 42 ; prices, 42, 43, 
45, 49 ; uses of, 36-38, 44, 45, 52 ; 
style of, in England, 46; same as 
livery-cupboards, 47, 51, 52; with 
two drawers, 47 ; and livery-cup- 
boards not mentioned together, 51. 
See Livery-cupboards. 

Court of Love, The, quoted for word 
desk, 109. 

Cowperthwaite, John K., 1S1. 

Coytemore, Catherine, inventory, 222. 

Coytemore, Thomas, inventory, 222, 
224, 233. 

Crafts, John, inventory, 5. 

Craigie, David, inventory, 125. 

Cranewise, Andrew, will of, 197. 

Craty, Capt. Andrew, inventory, 79, 
94. 154. 242. 

Cross, John, inventory, 220. 

Cruft, Capt. Edward, inventory, 107. 

Cunningham, Nathaniel, inventory, 
207. 

Cupboards, first use of the word, 30, 



276 



INDEX 



32 ; open structures, 30, 33, 45 ; in- 
closed, 31-34, 44, 46, 53-55, 58, 60, 
63 ; two classes of, 33, 34 ; varie- 
ties of, 33, 34, 53 ; furnished with 
cloths of various materials, 44, 60- 
62 ; with cushions, 44, 61-63, 7^ 
with drawers, 54, 55, 59, 60 ; owned 
and used in Connecticut, 55, 56, 64 
made of oak, 56, 59 ; in use in En° 
land, and American colonies, 56, 57 
without carving, 56 ; origin of style 
in 1 6th century, 57 ; with turned col- 
umns, 5S ; lose favor at close of 17th 
century, 63 ; displaced by chests 
of drawers, 64 ; new styles of, see 
Corner cupboard, 64 ; movable 
pieces, 66. 

Cupboard cloths, 60, 61. 

Cupboard cushions, 61-63. 

Curwen, George R., 104, 211. 

dishing, Mrs. James, 211. 

Customs, The, of New England, 
Felt's, 105. 

Cutler, John, inventory, 203. 

Cutler, Robert, inventory, 27. 

Cypress chests, 3, 6, 17. 

Daily Courant, 65, 99, 126, 129. 

Daily Post, 65, 97, 131. 

Danvers, desk from, in. 

Davie, Humphrey, Esq., inventory, 
21S. 

Davis, James, inventory, 220. 

Davis, Robert, inventory, SS. 

Davison, Nicholas, inventory, 44. 

Day, Robert, inventory, no. 

De Dalby, Thomas, inventory, 30. 

Deerfield, oaken chests at, 16, 25. 

Delft ware, 220-222. 

Denison, Mary, inventory, 220. 

Dennie, John, inventory, 169. 

Dennis, Sarah, owner of chairs, tape 
loom, and carved chest, 146. 

Desks, coeval with art of writing with 
pen and ink, 109; etymology of the 
word, 109, 115; two rather distinct 
meanings, 109 ; prices of, in New 



England inventories, no, 125, 127; 
traditional conception of, m ; cloth 
covering of, 112, 113; standing, 113, 
114; inclosed from table nearly to 
floor, 113; in the sense of recepta- 
cles for books and papers, 114, 115; 
a mounted variety, 116; good speci- 
mens scarce, 116; and bookcases, 
128-131 ; and scrutoir, used inter- 
changeably, 128. See Scrutoir; 
sometimes called bureau desks, 
134 ; prices for, 267. 

Dewing, Andrew, inventory, 4. 

Dickinson, Jonathan, inventory, 101. 

Dickinson, Thomas, inventory, 98. 

Dictionarie of the French and Eng- 
lish Tongues, Cotgrave's, 36. 

Dictionarium Britannicum, Bailey's, 
12S. 

Dictionary of Archaic and Provincial 
Words, Halliwell-Phillipps's, 37. 

Dictionary of Obsolete and Provincial 
English, Wright's, 1S9. 

Dictionnaire de L'Ameublement, Ila- 
vard's, 95, 118. 

Dinely, Fathergone, inventory, 62. 

Dining-rooms, 209, 213, 215; table, or 
board, 190, 208. 

Doolittle, Enos, clockmaker, 255. 

Dover, Lord, chair of, 173. 

Dowden, Leonard, inventory, 79. 

Drawing-tables, 194-196. 

Dresses and Plabits of England, 
Strutt's, 112. 

Dressing-tables, 84, 87, 89, 108, 120, 
121. 

Dressoir, 31 ; definition of, 36; Flem- 
ish, 39, 46, 47, 49 ; used in France 
in 1 5th century, 52. 

Drops, 1 5, 21 ; invented and first used 
by Koek, 20. 

Drury, Elizabeth, will of, 31. 

Dryden's use of the word sideboard, 
70. 

Duffield, William, inventory, 32. 

Dunster, Henry, inventory, 150. 

Durant, William, clock of, 253. 



INDEX 



277 



Durham, cupboard from, 59. 
Dupee, Mrs. W. R., clock of, 254. 
Dutch and Flemish chairs, 161. 
Dutch marquetry, 256-258. 
Dwelling-houses of New England, 

apartments of, 20S. 
Dyer, Giles, keeper of town clock, 

245, 246. 
Dyer, John, inventory, S5- 

Earthenware, white, blue, and painted 
earthen dishes, 219, 221, 224. 

Eaton, Governor Theophilus, inven- 
tory, 60, 194, 212, 222, 225, 227. 

Economic and Social History of New 
England, Weeden's, 226. 

Ecritoire or Escritoire, 124-126, 136. 

Eliot, Jacob, inventory, 63. 

Eliot, John, Jr., inventory, 61, 96. 

Embroidery stitches, 153. 

Emslie, J. P., drawings by, 4r. 

Endicott, John, Governor of Massa- 
chusetts, inventor}', 206. 

Entry, or hall, 209-211, 218. 

Erving, Henry W., oaken desk box 
of, III. 

Essex, Conn., carved oaken furniture 
from, 74, 112. 

Essex County Records, Massachu- 
setts, inventory in, 151. 

Essex Institute, Salem, Mass., chair 
at, 146. 

Essex, Joseph, clockmaker, 250. 

Eustis, David, inventory, 165. 

Evans, David, inventory, 68. 

Evelyn, John, gift of chair to, 156. 

Everill, Abiel, inventory, 69. 

Fairweather, Thomas, inventory, 102. 
Faneuil, Peter, inventory, 206 ; silver 

forks of, 226. 
Farley, E. W., donor of chair to Bow- 

doin College, 146. 
Farmington, Conn., chest from, 16. 
Farnum, Joseph, inventory, 151. 
Faulkner, Thomas, inventory, 219, 

222. 



Ffellows, John, inventory, S5. 

Fillebrown, Thomas, inventory, 260. 

Fireplace tiles, Dutch, 221. 

Fitch, Jeremiah, inventory, 226. 

Flanders chest, 6. 

Flowered furniture, 87. 

Forks, first mention of, 225; handles 

of, 226 ; with three and four prongs, 

226. 
Foster, Captain, bringer of clock from 

Amsterdam, 238. 
Foster, John, inventory, 102. 
Francklin, William, inventory, 44. 
Franklin, Henry, inventory, 123, 126, 

130, 167. 
Freake, John, inventory, 151, 225. 
Friesland carving, 20. 
Fromantil, Ahasuerus, Dutch clock- 
maker, 237. 
Fuller, Horace S., high chest of 

drawers, 83; scrutoir, 120. 
Furniture made by a joiner, 3 ; papers 

on, 52; inventory made in Paris, 

125 ; in halls, 211, 212. 

Gatchell, Jonathan, inventory, 166. 
Gauteir, Andrew, Windsor chair- 
maker, 177, 184. 
Gauteir, Jacques, Huguenot emigrant, 

177- 

Gay, Ebenezer, clock of, 254. 

Genealogical Dictionary, Savage's, 29. 

Genealogies and Estates of Charles- 
town, Wyman's, 29. 

General Advertiser, The, 70. 

Gentleman's and Cabinet-Maker's Di- 
rector, Chippendale's, 174. 

Gibbons, Major-General Edward, in- 
ventory, no, 113, 227. 

Gibbs, Benjamin, inventory, 117. 

Gibson, Christopher, inventory, 45, 62. 

Gilbert, Thomas, inventory, 154, 226. 

Glaseor, William, inventory, 50. 

Glassware, on chests of drawers, 79, 
81, 102, 106, 107; scarce, 226; of 
18th century, 228, 229. 

Glastonbury, Conn., scrutoir from, 120. 



278 



INDEX 



Glover, Mary, inventory, 43. 

Goffe, Capt. Christopher, inventory, 
203. 

Goodwin, John, inventory, 164. 

Goodyear, Stephen, inventory, 43, 
195. 

Gordon, Governor Patrick, Windsor 
chairs of, 176, 1S4. 

Graves, Rear-Admiral Thomas, inven- 
tory, 58. 

Greenwood, Samuel, inventory, 102. 

Gretton, Charles, clockmaker, 240. 

Griffith, William, inventory, 206. 

Grunow, Herr C, of Berlin, 18-20. 

Guineau, Henry, inventory, 90. 

Gutteridge, Robert, licensed to sell 
coffee, tea, and chocolate, 231. 

Haddock, Charles W, clock of, 23S. 

Haddock, Mrs. Charles, court-cup- 
board of, 47. 

Hale, G. H., square table of, 19S. 

Hale, Samuel, inventory, 63. 

Hall, name not used for entrance way 
in 17th century, 209; the principal 
living-room, 209 ; furniture in old 
colonial, 211, 212, 214, 215, 217; 
other names for, 216. 

Halliwell, James Orchard, 37, 41, 49, 

Si- 

Halliwell-Phillipps, 37, 117, 118, 122. 

Halsey, Henry, donor of table to Con- 
necticut Historical Society, 195. 

Hancock, Governor John, chair of, 

'73- 

Harris, Benjamin, licensed to sell cof- 
fee, tea, and chocolate, 231. 

Harris, Sarah, inventory, 154. 

Harris, William, inventory, 79, 93, 
226. 

Harris, William, Jr., Windsor chair- 
maker, 181. 

Harrison, John, English clockmaker, 
262. 

Hartford County, Conn., rich in carved 
oaken woodwork, iii ; chests made 
in, 15, 25. 



Harwood, Henry, inventory, 220. 
Haugh, Mrs. Anna, inventory, 13. 
Hayden, J. H., 195. 
Haynes, John, inventory, 51, 6l, 

150. 
Heppelwhite, cabinet-maker, 69, 71, 

72; designs of, 108, 134, 135, 167; 

extensive use of embellishment by, 

185, 186; tables with rich inlays, 

208. 
Heriot Hospital, Edinburgh, oval ta- 
ble at, 199. 
Herte, Agas, will of, 3. 
Hett, Thomas, inventory, 5S. 
Hews, Alpheus, Windsor chairmaker, 

i So. 
Hibbins, Mrs. Ann, inventory, 61, 218. 
Hicks, Richard, inventory, 62. 
Hill, John, inventory, 168. 
Hill, Joseph, licensed to sell coffee, 

tea, and chocolate, 231. 
Historical Account of Massachusetts 

Currency, Felt's, 207. 
History and Antiquities of Hengrave, 

Suffolk, Gage's, 40. 
History of Harvard University, 

Pierce's, 138. 
History of the United States, Bryant 

and Gay's, 146. 
Hoadly, Charles J., vi. 
Hodge, Hannah, inventory, 176. 
Hodson, John, inventory, 156, 203. 
Holland ware, 220. 
Holyoke, President Edward, 138. 
Holyoke, Elizur, inventory, 223, 232. 
Homes of other Days, Wright's, 113, 

140, 190. 
Hook, Theodore, table chair of, in 

Art Journal, 197. 
Hooker, Rev. Nathaniel, inventory, 

117. 
Hooper, Richard, inventory, 203. 
Home, John, 156. 
Hosmer collection, 10, 16, 54, 74, 84, 

114, 121; chairs in, 143, 161, 172, 

187 ; tables, 200, 201 ; clocks, 234, 

253- 



INDEX 



279 



Hosmer, Stephen, inventory, 4. 

Hosmcr, Walter, v, 10, 74. See Hos- 
mer collection. 

House Beautiful, The, Cook's, 56, 69, 
146. 

How, Joseph, inventory, 227. 

Howe, Mrs. Edmund G., oak chest 
of, 10. 

Howel, William, inventory, 91, 97. 

Hudson, Mrs. Mary, inventory, 219. 

Huit, Ephraim, inventory, 227. 

Hulbert, William E., collection of, 9. 

Huton, Ralf, inventory of, 69. 

Independent Chronicle, The, 179. 

I ndo-Portuguese furniture, 155. 

Inlays, 9, 72, 1S5, 205, 20S, 260, 262. 

Inventories, chests, 4, 5, S ; Hartford, 
5, 23, 96; Suffolk County, Mass., 
5, 73 ; Surtees, Camden, and Chet- 
ham Societies, 6 ; chests with 
drawers, 11-13 ; Connecticut, 23, 
220 ; hinges, handles, locks, etc., 
27; 16th century, 31, 32; early, of 
New England, 33, 47, 69 ; English, 
34, 35- 73; court-cupboards, 43, 44; 
cupboard cloths and cushions, 6c— 
63 ; corner cupboards, 66-68 ; buf- 
fets, 67 ; sideboards, 69 ; chests of 
drawers, 79 ; glass and crockery, 
79, 102, 103, 106, 107 ; mahogany 
furniture, 100, 101 ; cases of drawers, 
106, 107; desks, no; scrutoirs, 116, 
117, 123, 130; bureau tables, 131, 
132; Plymouth, Mass., 137; leath- 
er chairs, 147 ; chairs covered with 
various fabrics, 150, 151 ; Boston, 
153; cane chairs in sets, 153, 154; 
two-back, three-back, etc., chairs, 
164; banister-back chairs, 165, 166; 
easy, or saddle -cheek chairs, 167, 
168; Windsor chairs, 176; Salem, 
189; slate and stone tables, 203; 
marble tables, 206, 207 ; furniture 
in hall, 211, 212, 217; furniture in 
parlor, 213; china ware, 222, 223; 
stoneware, 223, 224 ; silverware, 



224, 225 ; glassware, 227 ; alluding 

to use of tea, 232. 
Iron-bound chests, 6. 
Ivory, Benjamin, inventory, 163. 

Jacklin, Edmund, inventory, 43. 
Jackson, Richard, inventory, 62. 
Japanned furniture, 94, 95. 
Japanning, done in Boston in 1712, 

95- 
Jeffs, John, inventory, 62. 
Jekyll, John, inventory, 103, 217. 
Johnson, Capt. Edward, list of trades 

by, 28. 
Johnson, Capt. James, licensed to sell 

coffee and chocolate, 230. 
Johnson, John, inventory, 61. 
Joined chests, or framed with panels, 

2,4-6- 

Joiners, 3, 28, 91, 194. 

Joiners' work, rule and prices of, 265, 

266. 
Jones, Alice, inventory, 189. 
Jones, Mrs. Dorathy, licensed to sell 

coffee and chocolate, 230. 
Jones, John, inventory, 100. 
Jones, William H., Heppelwhite chair 

of, 1 86. 
Juglans nigra (black walnut), 96. 
Jugs of gray stone, 221. 

Katharine of Arragon, inventory, 112. 
Keayne, Robert, inventory, 135. 
Kellond, Thomas, inventory, 124, 225. 
Kien Lung, Emperor of China, 162. 
King, William, inventory, 44. 
Kings Arms, inventory of its furni- 
ture, 53. 
Knight, Richard, a carver, 29. 
Knives and forks, 226. 
Knocker, Thomas, inventory, 222. 
Koek, Peter, inventor of the drop, 20. 

Lacquered wares, 94 ; furniture made 

in Paris, 95. 
Lamberton, George, inventory, 194. 
Langdon, Josiah, inventory, 107. 



280 



INDEX 



Langton, Dame Anne, inventory, 69. 

Larkins, Hugh, inventory, 221. 

Laurea Austriaca, 39. 

Lawrence, Daniel, Windsor chair- 
maker, 180. 

Leager, Jacob, inventory, 222. 

Le Blonde, James, inventory, 203. 

Lebanon, Conn., dressing or chamber 
table from, 87. 

Lee, William, inventory, 50. 

Leicester, Countesse of, inventory, 

5 1 - 

Lemon, Robert, inventory, 62. 

Levyt, Gilys, will of, 31. 

Lichfield, England, District Probate 
Registry, 38, 48, 49. 

Lidgett, Mary, inventory, 66. 

Lids of oaken chests, 7, 15, 25. 

List of trades in Boston, 28. 

Livery-cupboards, iv, 33, 34, 42, 53 
same as court-cupboards, 47, 51, 52 
prices, 4S, 49; without doors, 49 
in some cases inclosed, 49, 50 ; uses 
of, 50-52 ; described in The Art 
Journal, 52 ; cease to be men- 
tioned in records, 64. 

Lloyd, James, inventory, 226. 

London Evening Post, 97. 

London Gazette, 94, 135. 

Long, Capt. Zachariah, inventory, So, 
103, 203, 205. 

Lord, Richard, inventory, 58, 61, 231 ; 
cane-seat chairs, T 55. 

Loring, George B., chest of drawers, 
89. 

Ludkin, William, inventory, 27. 

Lusher, Maiy, inventory, 50. 

Lyndall, James, inventory, 220. 

Lynn, chest of drawers from, 83; 
chamber table from, 84. 

Lyon, Irving Whitall, chests of, 7, 9, 
14-16, 120; box of, 19, 116; cup- 
board of, 59; chests of drawers of, 
74, 83, S4, 105, 120; dressing or 
chamber table of, 87 ; chairs of, 
143, 144, 152, 167, 172, 184; chair 
table of, 197 ; clocks of, 239, 240. 



Mackman, James, inventory, 242, 243. 

Madison, Conn., chests from, 10, 15; 
a cupboard, 59. 

Magazine of Art, The, 173. 

Mahogany furniture, 69 ; introduced 
in London in 1720, 98, 99; found in 
American inventories as early as 
1708, 100, 101 ; chairs, 171, 172. 

Malcom, Daniel, inventory, 132, 133, 
17S. 

Mansfield, Conn., a chest from, 14. 

Manteltree, place for glass and earth- 
enware, 64. 

Marot, Daniel, designs for clock cases, 
241. 

Marshall, Mary, inventory, 231. 

Mason, Sampson, inventory, 107, 
166. 

Masters, Giles, inventory, 153. 

Matson, Thomas, to repair the town 
clock, 245, 249. 

Maxwell, Elizabeth, inventory, 229. 

McKee, Robert, artist, 196. 

Memorial Hall, Deerfield, Mass., oak 
chest in, 16, 25. 

Memorial History of Boston, Win- 
sor's, 142. 

Messinger, Henry, inventory, 28. 

Meyrick, Sir Samuel Rush, 41. 

Mico, John, inventory, 66, 122. 

Middlefield, Conn., chest of drawers 
from, 74. 

Middletown, Conn., box from, 19; 
buffet, 6S. 

Milton, in Paradise Regained, has the 
phrase the stately sideboard, 70. 

Mitchell, Jonathan, inventory, 49. 

Mitford, Julian, inventory, 33. 

Morgan, Octavius, best English au- 
thority on old clocks and watches, 
235, 236, 241. 

Morton, Thomas, inventory, 3. 

Mountjoy, Josiah, inventory, 164. 

Musee du Mobilier National, 93. 

Needle's, The, Excellency, Taylor's, 
152. 



INDEX 



281 



New England Historic Genealogical 
Society, clock with solid black wal- 
nut case, 253. 

New Haven Gazette, The, 180. 

New World of Words, Phillips's, 117. 

New York Gazette, The, 176. 

New York Gazetteer, The, 183. 

Newberry, General Roger, 255. 

Nichols, John Gough, on court-cup- 
boards, 40. 

Notch work, iS, 20. 

Notes and Queries, 235, 236, 241. 

Noyes, Peter, 244. 

Oak, 7, 14, 17, 77 ; the American 

white, several shades lighter than 

the European, 26; chairs of, 145; 
old transatlantic, 196. 
Oaken boxes, 22. 
Oaken chests, 3, 10, 15-17, 24, 25; 

desk, 125. 
Obear, Capt. Benjamin, 238. 
Old South Church, chair in, 147, 

158. 
Olivewood, 79 ; earliest mention of, 

93 ; furniture of, seldom found in 

the inventories, 94. 
Orman, Dr. Benjamin, inventory, 

232. 
Ornaments, 9, 10, 15, 17; the drops, 

1 5 ; egg-shaped, Norman nail heads 

and triglyphs, 20, 21. 
Orr, James, inventory, 91. 

Paddy, William, inventory, 147, 150. 
Paine, William, inventory, 151. 
Palmer, Thomas, Esq., inventory, 132, 

*33- 
Paradise Regained, 70. 
Parker, John, inventory, 67. 
Parker, Samuel, inventory, 178. 
Parlor, 213; and dining-room, 216. 
Parson Turell's Legacy, 138. 
Parsons, Theodosius, 181. 
Patteshall, Robert, inventory, 225. 
Peabody, Mass., chest of drawers 

from, 77. 



Pecker, James, inventory, 167, 229. 

Pell, Capt. Edward, inventory, 167. 

Pemberton, James, inventory, 206. 

Pemberton, Thomas, inventory, 154, 
203. 

Pennsylvania Chronicle, 178. 

Pennsylvania Journal, 176, 178. 

Pennsylvania Magazine, 249. 

Penrose, Bartholomew, inventory, 100. 

Phillipps, Halliwelk See Halliwell- 
Phillipps. 

Phillips's New World of Words, 117, 
11S, 122. 

Phillips, John, inventory, 132, 133. 

Phips, Sir William, inventory, 63, 154, 
225, 241, 243, 257. 

Pickering, John, table of, 198. 

Piers the Ploughman, 190. 

Pine, not put in oaken chests in Eng- 
land, 7, 26; yellow, used in New 
England for lids, back panels, 
drawers, etc., 15, 16, 25; chests, 
17 ; writing desk, 125. 

Pitts, Mrs. Elizabeth, inventory, 206. 

Plate, articles of, 225. 

Plumley, Charles, inventory, 100. 

Pollen, John Hungerford, quotation 
from, 173. 

Porter, Abell, licensed to sell coffee 
and chocolate, 230. 

Post Man, The, 65. 

Press, first use of the word, 32 ; syn- 
onymous with almery and cup- 
board, 32, 23, 54- 

Press cupboard, 33, 34, 53, 54. 

Presses, 53 ; receptacles for clothing, 

3 2 > 54- 

Preston, John, donor of table to Amer- 
ican Antiquarian Society, 204. 

Proctor, John, inventory, 103, 168. 

Promptorium Parvulorum, 109, 192. 

Public Advertiser, The, 97. 

Pulsifer, Joseph, inventory, 154. 

Queen Anne houses, 22, 64. 
Quercus alba, American white oak, 
color of, 26. 



282 



INDEX 



Ragland, John, inventory, 153. 
Rainsford, John, inventory, 167. 
Rainsford, Jonathan, inventory, 44. 
Rainsford, Nathan, inventory, 116. 
Randle, William, 65, 95, 129. 
Records of Essex County Court, 

Mass., 28 ; of Middlesex County, 

Mass., 150. 
Richards, Benjamin, inventory, 62, 

151- 

Risden, Robert, inventory, 8. 

Rivington, Charles Robert, 40. 

Rix, Thomas, inventory, 222. 

Roaring Girl, mention of court-cup- 
board, 37. 

Robbins, Walter, mahogany sideboard 
of, 72. 

Roberts, Mrs. Henry, Dutch tea table 
of, 203. 

Roberts, Joshua, a japanner, 125. 

Roberts, Nicholas, inventory, 232. 

Roberts, O. O., chest of, with two 
drawers, 9. 

Robinson, George T., authority on old 
furniture, vi, 52, 64, 98, 155, 157, 15S, 
174. 

Robinson, Thomas, inventor}', n. 

Rogers, Rev. Nathaniel, Ipswich, in- 
ventory, 8. 

Rogers, Nathaniel, Boston, sofa, 171. 

Roswell, Capt. Walter, inventory, 124, 

22 3> 2 3 x > 2 3 2 ' 

Rowley, Mass., carved chest from, 7. 

Royse, Daniel, inventory, 154. 

Rubens, Peter Paul, chair of, at Ant- 
werp, 148. 

Salem Observer, 238. 
Sallows, Thomas, inventory, 62. 
Salmon, John, inventory, 210. 
Salter, S. James A., quoted from 

Notes and Queries, 235. 
Sandy's Ghost, word bureau used in, 

126. 
Savage, Habijah, Esq., selectman of 

Boston, 252. 
Savage, John, inventory, 4. 



Saywell, David, inventory, 27. 

Scarlett, Capt. Samuel, inventory, 93. 

Schmuck, Henry M., chair of (once 
Roger Williams's), 151. 

Scob, word used at Winchester college 
for box, or desk, 114. 

Scollay, James, oak desk of, 125. 

Scott, Thomas, inventory, 232. 

Scrutoirs, 94 ; new style of desk, 116; 
the latest noted, 117; prices of, 117, 
122-125, I2 7i definitions of, 117, 
11S; same as writing-desk, 118; 
the oldest known of, described, 118, 
119; feet of, 119, 120; surmounted 
with cases for books, 122, 123, 128 ; 
the first noted in this country or in 
England, 124; held the name for 
fifty years, 125 ; identity of, with desk 
and bureau, 126-131 ; disuse of the 
word, 134. 

Secretaries with sliding covers, 135. 

Seeman, E. A., Leipzig, iS. 

Selby, Thomas, inventory, 165. 

Sendall, Samuel, inventory, 60. 

Settee, or double chair, 171, 180. 

Settles, 187, 1S8. 

Sewall, diary of, quoted, 232. 

Sharpe, Richard, inventory, 116, 124. 

Sheaffe, Jacob, inventory, 61, 147, 
212. 

Shepard, Edward, maker of chest of 
drawers, 108. 

Shepherd, Deacon Samuel, inventory, 
203. 

Sheraton, Thomas, London cabinet- 
maker, 69, 71, 96, 97, 108, 128; 
chairs of, 146, 147. 

Ship chests, 3, 17. 

Shipbuilding, when begun, 28. 

Shrimpton, Henry, inventory, 27, 225. 

Shrimpton, Samuel, inventory, 223, 
232. 

Sideboard cupboard, or side cupboard, 
47- 

Sideboard tables, 69-71, 208. 

Sideboards, 69-72 ; succeeded by lock- 
ers, 72. 



INDEX 



283 



Silverware, 224. 

Simons, Edwin, v; chest of drawers 
and dressing-table, S7 ; chairs, 157, 
172, 1S7 ; card table, 20S. 

Simons, Samuel, joiner, 28. 

Singer, quotation from, 39. 

Snowden, Jedidiah, Windsor chair- 
maker, 178. 

Solon, L. M., chest of drawers, 88. 

South Kensington Museum, 93, 235. 

Souther, Nathaniel, inventory, no, 

i'3- 

Sparry, John, licensed to sell coffee, 

230. 
Specimens of Ancient Furniture, 

Shaw's, 41. 
Sperry, Mrs. Henry T., clock of, 

255- 
Sprague, Capt. Richard, inventory, 

79. 81. 

Sprague, William, inventory, 197. 
Spruce chests, 3. 

Stackhouse, Stacy, Windsor chair- 
maker, 179, 180. 
Staffordshire stoneware, 223. 
Standishes of wood, 135 ; of various 

shapes and sizes, 136 ; Dean Swift's, 

136. 
Stands, or stand tables, 202. 
Starr, Burgis P., cupboard of, 55. 
Stationers' Hall, court-cupboards in, 

40-42. 
Steps on cupboards for display of 

plate or china, 39, 40 ; for chests of 

drawers, 102-105. 
Stoddard, Anthony, inventory, 128. 
Stone, Rev. Samuel, inventory, 222. 
Stools in use for seats, 137. 
Stowe, Sergeant Nathaniel, inventory, 

231. 
Stowe, Rev. Samuel, inventor}', 34. 
Studies from Old English Mansions, 

Richardson's, 21. 
Suffolk County, Mass., 5, 73 ; deeds, 

S3- 
Sumner, William, blacksmith, to keep 
the clock (Boston), 246. 



Surtees Society, 3, 30, 33, 34, 47, 51, 

69, 115, 189, 192. 
Sweetser, Wigglesworth, inventory, 

224. 

Table, used instead of earlier word, 
board, 190, 191. 

Table-boards, 1S8, 192, 193. 

Table dishes, early colonial, 219-229. 

Table forks, 225, 226. 

Tables, with board and trestles, 190- 
192 ; in use during early colonial 
period, 193; varieties of, 193, 194; 
long, for dining purposes, 194, 196; 
drawing (extension), 194-196; wood 
used for, 196, 197, 20S ; chair, or 
table chairs, 197 ; with leaves, or 
folding, 199, 200; style of, common 
in New England, 200 ; with spread- 
ing legs, 201 ; with triangular beds, 
201, 202; stand, or Dutch tea, 202, 
203 ; slate and stone, 203-205, 207 ; 
dressing, 205 ; marble, 206, 207 ; 
Heppelwhite, of the card and Pem- 
broke styles, 208; inlays of, very 
rich, 20S ; coverings for, 21S ; dishes, 
219; prices of, 268, 269. 

Talby, Stephen, inventory, 62. 

Talcott, Colonel Samuel, a settle for 
house of, 1S7. 

Talcott, Mrs. Thomas G., double chest 
of drawers, 91 ; steps on chest of 
drawers, 104 ; cane chair, 155 ; 
chairs, 186; settle, 188. 

Tall-boy, name for chest of drawers, 
89. 

Tambour cylinder desks rare, 135. 

Taylor, Christopher, inventory, 155. 

Taylor, Richard, bellringer, 245, 248. 

Tea, early history and domestic use 
of, 231, 232. 

Tenney, John, inventory, 79. 

Terry, Eli, clockmaker, 263. 

Thacher, Thomas, inventory, 93, 103, 
231. 

Thaulow, Museum at Kiel, 26, 57. 

Thayer, Nathaniel, inventory, 13. 



284 



INDEX 



Throckmorton, Elizabeth, inventory, 

.56. 
Throop, Amos, Windsor chairmaker, 

181. 
Tiles, Dutch, for fireplaces, 220, 221. 
Tompion, Thomas, clocks of, 241, 257. 
Townsend, James, inventory, 168. 
Trestles, 192, 193. 
Trinity College, Hartford, President's 

chair at, 184. 
Trowbridge, Stephen, inventory, 166. 
Turkey rugs, covers for chairs, 150- 

152. 
Tyldisley, Thurstan, inventory, 69. 
Tyng, Capt. William, inventory, 159, 

160, 213, 214, 224. 

United States Chronicle, The, 180. 
Upham, Nathaniel, inventory, 62. 
Upsall, Nicholas, inventory, 49. 

Van den Helm, a Dutch table-maker, 
65. 

Van Ysendyck, J. J., of Brussels, 
20. 

Vassall, Lewis, inventory, 130. 

Veneer, first mention of, 97 ; woods 
used for, 9S. 

Vernon, Daniel, licensed to sell cof- 
fee, 231. 

Verstille, Peter, inventory, 262, 263. 

Vincent, Ambrose, inventory, 221. 

Viollet-le-Duc, 31, 52, 109, 113. 

Virginia walnut tree wood, 96, 97. 

Vredeman de Vries, Hans and Paul, 
21, 57- 

Wadsworth, Joseph, selectman of Bos- 
ton, 252. 

Wainscot chairs, 145, 146, 160; chests, 
2, 4, 6, 13; furniture, 3, 4. 

Wainwright, Bp. Jonathan Mayhew, 
cane chair, 155. 

Wakeham, Robert, inventory, 63. 

Walker, Augustine, inventory, 218. 

Walker, Mary, inventory, 68, 164. 

Walker, Obadiah, inventory, 93, 96. 



Walnut, black, early attracted atten- 
tion of cabinet-makers, 96 ; veneers, 

96-98. 
Walpole, Horace, extracts from let- 
ters of, 139. 
Walter, Rev. Nehemiah, table of, 

204. 
Wanton, Joseph, Governor of Rhode 

Island, leather chair of, 149. 
Wardell, William, inventory, 12. 
Ware, Capt. John, inventory, 154. 
Warner, Thomas, inventory, II. 
Warner, Capt. William, inventory, 

107. 
Warr, Abraham, inventory, 219. 
Warren, John, inventory, 62. 
Waters, Henry F., collection of, 7, 77, 

in, 140, 145, 149. 
Waters, William C, court-cupboard 

of, 46. 
Webb, Elisha, inventory, 85. 
Webb, Henry, inventory, 62, 135, 151, 

158, 219, 227. 
Webb, Isaac, clockmaker, 244, 247, 

249, 250. 
Wedgewood, Josiah, pottery of, 221. 
Welcome, Peter, inventory, 13. 
Weld, Daniel, inventory, 11. 
Weld, Joseph, inventory, 219. 
Welland, Capt. John, inventory, 102, 

167. 
Welsteed, William, Esq., inventory, 

106, 221, 258; selectman of Boston, 

252. 
Welsteed, Rev. William, inventory, 

103. 
Wethersfield, Conn., buffet from, 68 ; 

chests of drawers from, S3, 108. 
Wharton, John, inventory, 102, 232. 
Wheeler, Ephraim, inventory, 164. 
Wheelwright, Theodore, inventory, 

161. 
Whittingham, William, inventory, 

"4, 135- 

Wight, Henry, inventory, 5. 
Willard, Daniel, inventory, 130. 
Williams, Rev. Elisha, clock, 253. 



INDEX 



285 



Williams, Jacob, inventory, 107. 
Williams, Robert (trade not given), 

to keep the clock, 246, 24S. 
Williams, Roger, Turkey work chair 

of, 151. 
Williams, Samuel, a joiner, 178. 
Williamson, E., 93. 
Wills published by Camden Society, 

3.3'- 

Winchester, Caleb, inventory, 166. 

Windsor chairs in use in Philadel- 
phia, v ; no mention of, in English 
newspapers, 1S2. See under Chairs. 

Windsor, as surname not found in 
Philadelphia during 17th and iSth 
centuries, 1S3. 

Windsor, Conn., carved and paneled 
chest from, 6 ; chest of drawers 
from, 87. 

Wing, Robert, inventory, 193. 

Winslow, Edward, chair of, 145. 

Winslow, Joshua, inventory, 71, 207. 

Winslow, Samuel, inventory, 96. 



Winsor, John, inventory, 8. 
Winthrop, Governor John, inventory, 

195- 

Woddrington, Sir Henry, inventory, 

47- 

Wolcott, Elisha, inventory, 107. 

Wolterton, Gregory, inventory, 62. 

Wonder-working Providence, 2S. 

Wood-carving in Northwestern Eu- 
rope, 18 ; its highest degree of per- 
fection, 19. 

Woods, hickory, ash, birch, used for 
turned chairs, 1 43 ; oak, for wain- 
scot chairs, 145; wild cherry, ma- 
hogany, rosewood, for tables, 208. 

Worthylake, George, inventory, 154, 
164. 

Yale University, bequests to, 56, 59. 
Yung Wing, minister from China, 
162. 

Zachary, Lloyd, inventory, 176.